Post Classifieds

WZRD 88.3 Back In Business

By Gary Soriano - Arts & Life Editor
On November 15, 2012

 

After more than four months of uncertainty, judicial hearings and deliberations, the WZRD student organization will be restored to active status effective Dec. 1, 2012. The participants will be expected to abide by standards of conduct compatible with Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) community standards. In order to standardize the process, membership and training to become a Wizard will be overseen by the Office of Student Leadership Development (SLD) for one calendar year. "The WZRD station club will retain the autonomy to determine format, content, scheduling, programming, entertainment, event planning and implementation," according to a statement delivered Nov. 7 by SLD Acting Director Veronica Rodriguez. However, the organization's bylaws, constitution, and powers of the program manager require revision and the addition of "a statement of civility and decorum on how the actions of DJs will be treated," Rodriguez said. 

SGA JUSTICE HEARING

According to a statement made to the Student Government Association (SGA) by WZRD, a formal justice hearing was requested on the decision of deactivating the organization "before any due process was taken to determine the truth or validity of any claims made to justify such action."

The justice hearing took place Nov. 1 in LWH 1001. The formal meeting, open to the public, was held to discuss the constitutionality of the actions undertaken by SLD. After asserting the boundaries of their jurisdiction, SGA Justices affirmed the sole purpose of the hearing was to listen to WZRD and SGA and offer an opinion based on the evidence provided by said parties. The petitioner (WZRD) and the respondents (SGA and CoC) presented statements and were also given the opportunity to respond to each other's statements. Allegations, according to the SGA's Justices, consisted of but were not limited to "flawed" recruitment process, "intimidation" amongst students, "misappropriation of club funds" and potential FCC violations. 

The Petitioners

WZRD disclosed a number of challenges to the SGA regarding constitutionality, due process, the deactivation process, signatory issues regarding SGA constitutional validity and legitimacy of the committees formed to decide on WZRD's future. WZRD member Peter Enger presented four major challenges to SGA judges in regards to the legitimacy of the deactivation.

According to the NEIU University Conduct Code, "all students are guaranteed the right of due process," Enger said. The petitioner's argument alleged that in the light of disciplinary action this process was unconstitutional. A second argument pointed to an SGA constitution clause stating that Student Activities Organization , now known as SLD or the Council of Clubs (CoC) must evaluate whether certain conditions exist in order to declare a club inactive. The third and fourth challenges addressed the legitimacy of SGA policies and committees by pointing to bylaws requiring approval by signature from the University President for policy changes, and barring the establishment of any standing committees on the CoC. WZRD contested that policies without the President's approval are not legal, and challenged the constitutionality of the CoC's Radio Station Review Committee.

The Decision
After a unanimous 3:0 vote, the official opinion of SGA Justices found, after reviewing CoC bylaws (SB 0:23 section 8), that there is no clause providing "the Council of Clubs nor their specific Charter and Oversight Committee the power to wield sanctions, including revocations against any University club" and any ability to do so should be clearly defined in SB 0:23 section 8. The constitutionality of the Radio Station Review Committee was also confirmed.

The Judges found the CoC has the right to setup ad-hoc committees for specific purposes. Judges also found that Article IV; section 3; letter D; subsection 1 of SGA's constitution clearly states that the CoC has authority to "ratify, reject, revoke constitutions and charters of all University student organizations."  Furthermore, authority to review a club can be conducted upon receiving a complaint with "25 verified signatures of enrolled students or at the request of an adviser(s), the Media Board, or Vice President of Student Affairs" while citing "specific allegations" against the club. A request by WZRD Media Adviser Tasha Neumeister gave authority to the CoC to investigate allegations against WZRD.

Concerning the claim that approval of new bylaws introduced to the SGA constitution must be signed by an entity outside of the student government, judges quoted "An Act to Reconcile the SGA Constitution," also known as  SB-11 which "repealed the need of approval or authority" from the Vice President of Student Affairs. The act, signed into law July 17, 2010 "does NOT require any signatures from any persons outside the SGA itself nor does this need to occur on an annual basis," according to SGA Chief Justice Michelle S. GruebmeyerSGA Justices declared the action taken by "the CoC, in particular the Charter Oversight and Regulation Committee, has met all the constitutional burdens necessary to allow for their actions regarding the WZRD collective."

The Future of WZRD

Rodriguez sees this as a new beginning. "I look forward to the WZRD radio station club's resumed contribution to NEIU's cultural life," Rodriguez said as the final thought in her statement. The Acting Director of SLD hopes students recognize this club as "something that is open and accepting."

The Administrative Station Manager, according to Rodriguez, will "help to oversee activities of WZRD members in order to serve "as a resource" for the development and process of new member training. The SLD will "be responsible for creating and publicizing the training schedule in order to ensure any student that wished to be on the air has the proper training in a timely manner," Rodriguez said. In addition, SLD "will seek to maintain a graduate assistant permanently as a resource for the radio station." SLD also hopes to establish and maintain a permanent resource for the radio station in the form of graduate assistants.

 

 


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