Letter from an Editor

By on October 15, 2008

Student Government Association
9.24.2008
Motion:
I, Louis Venturelli, move that the Student Government Association of Quinnipiac University pledge to denounce all deplorable acts of defamation within the Quinnipiac community and stand in collaboration with over forty student organizations and their members.
In addition, in a united stance with the student body, I hereby recommend that the Quinnipiac University Administration restrict access to the online gossip website titled “JuicyCampus.com” from all Quinnipiac University network services.

_____________________________________________

Above is the SGA motion to ban Juicycampus.com from the BobcatNet network, which is now known as the “Deplorable Acts Motion.”

Let’s go with it. Let’s ban Juicycampus.com because it is an anonymous gossip Web site where people can say unwarranted and unjustified things about Quinnipiac students. There’s libel, slander, and unethical happenings that surface only in John Lahey’s nightmares. Let’s block those websites where someone can post things anonymously.

We can start with Facebook.com, a regular haven for “online gossip.” Anyone can go online, create a Facebook account, and say ridiculous things about the Quinnipiac community.

Next let’s get Quchronicle.com, where anyone is allowed to anonymously comment on the stories in the weekly newspaper of Quinnipiac.

So pretty much any forum, yes? Goodbye, Quadnews.net, surely the administration will be sad to see you blocked.

This has to be the reasoning, or else we cannot block Juicycampus.com, which is simply an online forum. If we are to block one, then we need to block them all.

But that cannot be it–can SGA seriously want to block any Web site that provides even an opportunity for defamation? Well, their vague call to restrict access to Juicycampus.com does not say anything to the contrary.

We’ve heard the term “hate speech” tossed around a few times. Perhaps SGA has decided that the content of Juicycampus.com is not fit for the Quinnipiac community, and therefore, should be restricted.

If so, then our student government is making decisions on what the student body is fit to see. They are deciding what we can and cannot view online. And if we are going to go down that road, we must block Facebook.com, because I have seen some pretty serious defamation there as well. If not, we are allowing SGA to make judgments for us–to be our “Big Brother.” And my good friend George Orwell made a pretty good case against “Big Brothers.”

But, for me, this is only a vestibule in my mansion of concerns.

What really worries me is that this motion was passed by our student government. When the original voting took place, there was no dissent–not even a question about the first amendment, freedom of speech, or Quinnipiac rulings on network power. Not one member of SGA, from president Sean Geary to the smallest representative, considered the slippery slope this could start us upon. Not even one considered that Quinnipiac students could make decisions for themselves.

Note the Deplorable Acts Motion carries no reasoning for blocking Juicycampus.com. Outside of referring to the site as an “online gossip website,” there is no evidence behind the motioned ban. It is almost as if SGA is deceiving us–the Motion puts together two completely different things: “denouncing” acts of defamation and calling for a restriction of access to a Web site. “Denouncing” is simply condemning or accusing, restricting is a whole other story. SGA can denounce acts of defamation all they want, and I would certainly hope that they had been doing so before this motion came into play. So excluding that first paragraph, read the Deplorable Acts Motion again. It is simply a recommendation, with no evidence or reason, to block an online forum.

We have tossed around the word “deplorable” a few times this year, and I have no qualms saying that SGA has started down a deplorable path. In even considering blocking this website, they have overstepped their bounds as a student organization and representatives of the student body.
And that worries me.

If someone could please give me one good reason why Juicycampus.com should be blocked from the Quinnipiac network, please give me a heads-up.

Comments

About Joe Pelletier