Sex Still Banned from SRTV

Campus administrators, establishing new policies for the use of Student-Run Television’s cable network, remained steadfast in barring sexual nudity, but promised the return of the station during the daytime if the rules were adopted.

For the first time since the station’s shutdown in November, the university defined “graphic depictions of sexual activity involving nudity,” the provision A.S. councilmembers and SRTV co-Manager Andrew Tess have criticized as too broad. Administrators have long held to their decree banning those forms of nudity on the station, citing university ownership of Triton Cable, which carries the station’s signal, as justification for their decision.

The special election held in January, when students voted to overturn an A.S. Council decision to ban pornography from the station, bars councilmembers from revisiting the issue for a full year.

The new SRTV charter, drafted by a task force earlier this month, retained old station rules, which prohibit indecent material only between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

To prevent any broadcast of sexual nudity, administrators will take SRTV off the air during the hours that its charter allows pornography, according to Ratcliff.

“Those are the only hours we can safely provide an SRTV signal,” Ratcliff said. “Unless A.S. finds a way in its charter to ensure compliance with our policy — and I don’t know if they can find a way, given [that] they have [to] adhere to the outcome of the special election — we can’t give a 24/7 broadcast.”

Under the new policies for use of the cable network — drafted by Administrative Computing and Telecommunications, campus lawyers and the Student Affairs office — administrators spelled out its ban of nudity, defining it as “sexual organs engaged in sexual activity such as but not limited to intercourse, fellatio, cunnilingus or masturbation.”

A.S. Commissioner of Communications Soap Chum initially sided with the policies, but changed his views after conferring with councilmembers and Tess. Chum then said that the specificity was biased against SRTV, since Triton Cable hosts other explicit programs, such as HBO’s “Real Sex.”

Tess expressed similar criticisms.

“They’re trying to extend their power with this and its way beyond what they’ve had in the past,” he said. “I don’t think its a good step for anyone involved.”

In its new policies, the university backed away from requiring a board to review programs before airing, a provision it has held as a requirement for the return of SRTV. Instead, the new policy would give the university full power to cut the SRTV signal “without notice to halt or prevent suspected violations of this policy.”

The policy is meant to incentivize the council incentive to properly manage its service, Ratcliff said.

“We pretty much have to oversee it in a better manner than we have in prior situations,” Chum said. “I’m willing [to take] that risk, as long as I’m involved with the programming process and have a close relationship with SRTV.”

The university would be acting illegally if it maintained the right to halt programming if it decided to, Tess said.

As of press time, A.S. President Christopher Sweeten was expected to publicly stand against the administration’s policies, Tess and Chum said.

Administrators’ regulations will be open to comment and review for 30 days. If no major objections or concerns are brought forth, the policies will be formally adopted, according to Ratcliff.