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SGA to take on Signal disposal

Published: Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 16:03

Chris Shattuck | The Signal

Ben Williams, SGA vice president of student life, acknowledged that two sorority girls admitted to him that they had dumped the papers two weeks ago.


      The Student Government Association has decided to consider an official response to whether the disposal of approximately 250 copies of The Signal constitutes a violation of the student Code of Conduct or criminal law.

        “I think what they’re asking from us is valid,” Ben Williams, SGA vice president of student life, said. “They’re asking us to say as the Student Government Association two things: whether they violated the student code of conduct and whether we feel they have violated any laws about throwing away the Signal’s.”

         SGA President James Dutton said he thought the question of if the disposal of the papers constituted a crime or breach of the student Code of Conduct should be considered by the Student Judicial Board, the judicial branch of the SGA.

        Allison Renyi, the chief justice of SJB, said the topic was set to be considered Monday but the SGA would not have a formal opinion until later this week.

           Although other SGA executive board members expressed reluctance with adopting a resolution, several E-board members weighed in on the issue during their meeting last Thursday.

Dutton said that he personally thought the disposal was inappropriate and that the members responsible for the act should have chosen another avenue of expression, such as writing an opinion piece for print in the newspaper.

        He also said that he didn’t think it was a crime, though, because he thought students were personally entitled to take as many papers as they would like.

Other members, such as Executive Vice President Elise LaPlante and Vice President of Student Life Ben Williams, generally agreed with Dutton as to whether the actions committed by the girls were legal.

          However, they disagreed slightly as to whether the disposal of the papers constituted a form of censorship.

       Dutton said the disposal was “sort of a form of censorship,” whereas Williams and LaPlante argued cuts to funding would have actually represented a clearer avenue of censorship.

“Them grabbing the papers and throwing them away was for the sole purpose of: ‘I want less people to see what they wrote bad about me,’” Dutton said.

LaPlante disagreed.

       “I don’t think it’s censorship because censorship has a very specific context,” LaPlante said.

But LaPlante also considered the potential repercussions of being seen as siding with the group responsible for disposing of the papers.

        “I guess the issue that I have with it is that I think that they’re, kind of, putting us in the position of whether or not we condone throwing away the newspapers, [and] I think they’re trying to attach it to the larger issue of what was printed on that newspaper,” LaPlante said.

“I feel like what they’re asking for is so much more loaded than what they’re saying.”


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