Let There Be Beer

illustrations by Stefany Chen/Guardian

It’s almost not worth it to keep talking about the recently proposed changes to the A.S. Media Guidelines, drafted last week by four absentminded councilmembers with a penchant to make yet another aspect of student life an administration-tamed bore.

At the embarrassing public forum last Tuesday, a host of skeptical councilmembers and angry representatives from student publications turned up to mouth off about the restricting nature of the drafted guidelines.

Thing is, everyone who took a turn at the podium soon realized they were preaching to the choir. The guidelines sucked, and the only person who didn’t think so was one-man-army Associate Vice President Student Organizations Andrew Ang — the “brains” behind the new legislation, and supposed representative of all student-org interests on campus (even though not a single one expressed interest in receiving university sponsorship, as Ang proposed).

Even his three accomplices in writing up the new rules deserted him on the battlefield. At a certain point, it was painful to watch. Campuswide Senator Adam Kenworthy admitted that the proposal to require content guidance by a faculty member — which comprised the entire first half of the draft — didn’t reflect student interests, and was kind of just lame in general. Revelle Senator Jaclyn Storey cowered the entire time, and managed to escape without saying a word. Then there was Marshall Senator Brian McEuen — oh wait, no there wasn’t. Dude was so scared he didn’t even show up.

Makes you wonder how much time the committee spent in conversation, when only a single member now stands by its final decisions. (And at this point, even Ang probably wants to take it all back. But he’s probably better off looking like a fascist administrator-loving asshole than admitting he did the whole thing to get rid of the Koala, and doesn’t actually care about the vast improvement in “quality” that university oversight would allegedly have on student newspapers.)

In the end, there’s no denying the glaring crappiness of much student media at UCSD. When spell-check is waived, graphics are credited to the “Internet” and Muslims are depicted as monkeys in diapers by right-wing publications with no history of irony, one certainly hopes the Communicatons majors in the production room aren’t putting this on their resume.

But the mere fact that fellow students — like, presumably halfway-cool young people — would think it was a good idea to self-importantly make up more rules that would unleash an old person on the creative process, possibly affecting the hilarious effects (if only hilariously bad) on the outcome, makes us wonder whether the council’s really a band of administrators in disguise.

Student newspapers are awesome because they don’t come out on time, their offices have more empty beer cans than computers and their editors mostly just want the title to improve their chances of getting laid. Since when did we not fight the man in solidarity?

Even the second half of the proposal, which lays out a new way of reviewing funds for student publications, contains obvious lapses in judgment. The current system — the Student Organization Funding Advisory Board (SOFAB) — already suffers from inefficiencies.

Instead of just compiling a list of standard printing and publication costs and referring to it when the organization in question happens to produce media, Ang and his committee proposed creating a whole new group of student politicians to complicate an inherently questionable process. The new board would also include two representatives from student newspapers on campus, obviously allowing for rivalries between publications to air themselves in the boardroom, and potentially affect funding.

A.S. President Utsav Gupta may have shelved the new media guidelines indefinitely at the council’s meeting last night, but the council can’t erase this. The A.S. Council reputation sank to its low of the year this week, thanks to the badly thought-out, fun-killing whims of an out-of-touch few.

When dealing with the historic UCSD free-speech issue and, particularly, the Koala, the AVP Student Organizations should know his every move has to be flawless. Instead, Ang’s media guideline changes blatantly proposed content regulation and biased funding, and made any future attempt to sneakily change the guidelines traceable to an initial bias against offensive content (read: the Koala making fun of dead people). Good one, guys.

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