SBU-TV finally had their day in court after a month of postponed hearings. E-board members argued with Undergraduate Student Government officials in front of the USG Supreme Court, which will ultimately decide the fate of the station.
The e-board argued that the USG “took away a voice from [the members of SBU-TV] and a voice from the undergraduate student body,” and that they didn’t receive the five days notice their constitution requires before being disbanded.
In his rebuttal, Vice President of Communications David Mazza stated that the club’s bylaws weren’t recognized by the USG. It was Mazza who wrote the bill eliminating SBU-TV.
The court is made up of students appointed by the USG president. Many of whom were appointed by current President Matt Graham, who argued against SBU-TV.
According to Graham, USG isn’t “limiting freedom of speech, but changing the way SBU-TV functions.” SBU-TV argues otherwise. Editorial control, at this point, is in the hands of Mazza.
School of Journalism employee and former member of SBU-TV Dustin Herlich was called to testify on the station’s history. Herlich pointed out that SBU-TV was only treated as a quasi-independent agency so that they could legally hire a professional to run the station. “That was the only way we could get around existing laws,” he said.
Since SBU-TV has been moved online, they no longer need a professional and no longer legally require independence.
The court promised either a decision or a request for additional time to deliberate by Monday.
Stay tuned for updates –– and eventually a decision.