August 1, 2021

Contentious election spills into BDAC; administration takes out TV in exercise room to avoid fighting over channels


This archived article was written by: The Eagle staff

Life at USU Eastern is pretty average most days. When a sporting team wins, the decimal level goes up for a few minutes and then everything on campus returns to normal, even in the BDAC.
Except this year. A university should be a place where differing ideas are celebrated not censored, even with the increased hostility during this election cycle. This is why several at USU Eastern found the removal of the television from the BDAC inappropriate.
Watching the elections in the BDAC has become so hostile and contentious that BDAC Manager Dave Paur got fed up with all the fighting by patrons that he simply had the television in the exercise room removed until after the election is over.
At first he put signs on the television that no one would be allowed to change the channels to CNN or Fox news until after the elections.
A community member was outraged that the signs dictated what he/she could watch. “Universities are higher places of learning where you are exposed to new ideas and opinions whether you agree with them or not. To have a member of your faculty attempt to censor students as well as patrons like me is very disconcerting,” he wrote.
“There have been multiple fights and yelling,” Greg Dart, vice chancellor of student affairs and enrollment management wrote in an email. “There is no censorship, just a lack of people being civil enough. We have said no news until after the election to keep the peace because people can’t seem to do it on their own.”
Patrons in the BDAC continued to turn the television to the two-banned stations so Paur would simply change it to a sports station.
Eight days before the election, the television was gone and some patrons thought it was an extreme example of censorship against free press.
“I’m not sure why they [BDAC management] cannot just ban the person or people that are irritating everyone else. If someone did not like the college newspaper, could it be banned from campus?” another patron wrote. “If the school newspaper were to write an article that caused heated discussion among people in the town or on campus, should the entire newspaper be banned? Or should even a single article be banned that discussed philosophical ideas as well as factual evidence yet caused contention and discussion among people? Is this not a University of Higher Education? Should debate and discussion not be found here?”
On Tuesday in an email, Dart wrote, “Based on the number of incidents that have occurred in the BDAC over the past two weeks, the decision was made to remove the TV for the time being. We will reevaluate that decision in the future.
It does not take intuition to predict that even after this election the news will not change its tone, so the question must be asked is for how long will the television viewing be censored at USU Eastern? And more importantly, who gets to decide what is appropriate television for people to watch? Where will the line be drawn?

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