"The problems today are not the evil actions of the bad people, but
the appalling silence and inaction of the good people. "
---Martin Luther King, Jr.
VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY: APPALLING INACTION
Vanderbilt University recently sent out the Fall 2012 edition of Tunnel Vision, a ‘publication for alumni of student media at Vanderbilt University’. Half of the publication is dedicated to the where-are-they-now updates of alumni of Vanderbilt student media, such as WRVU. Going back to graduating classes from the early ’50s, proud WRVU alumni give short personal updates. The numerous contributing alumni with WRVU ties are varied and uniformly impressive – medical professionals, engineers, researchers, business leaders, media professionals, etc. It is clear that the WRVU experience either attracted the best of Vanderbilt and/or was a formative influence to future professional success. For instance, this Tunnel Vision edition featured an WRVU alumnus who went on the be a leader in treatment of Parkinsons and another who is a leader of a pediatric specialty hospital, but one such alumnus wrote the following:
"I'm quite saddened by the regrettably poor decision to move WRVU
off the air."
---class of 1992.
This alumnus suspects what we here at SaveWRVU know – but many alumni probably do not – the important formative experience of WRVU is all but decimated due to the recent actions of oddly unaccountable Vanderbilt Student Communications (VSC). Referring to the Tunnel Vision publication, as the alumni updates progress into the 2000s, the WRVU contributions drop off noticeably. This is around the time when the recently configured, Chris Carroll led, VSC ramped up its campaign to hobble WRVU. Coincidence?
If you haven’t been following, WRVU Friends and Family have been fighting VSC’s proposed sale of WRVU’s on-air license. The strategy appears to be working. The VSC, who are expecting a $3.5 million payday from poaching WRVU’s assets are understandably loading their diapers in rage. The VSC and Media Advisor Chris Carroll, probably the person most responsible for this nonsense, together continue to lash-out at WRVU in infantile ways.
VSC: VANDERBILT STUDENT
Here is a list of some of the more despicable actions carried out by VSC:
1) Unilaterally dismissing popular and long serving DJs from WRVU. Why? Just cuz..
2) WRVU has no representation on the VSC, but the VSC continually alters the policies and restrictions to those involved with WRVU with little to no input from even the officers of WRVU.
3) The tie between the Nashville community and Vanderbilt students has been completely severed as Chris Carroll has unilaterally blocked community DJ applications.
4) introducing vague threats by mandating that “editorializing on air” (read: censoring student WRVU DJs) as a policy violation that “may result in permanent suspension”.
5) All student DJs must use a 24/7 “in-studio webcam and agree to be broadcast on the webcam video stream”. (read: VSC surveillance) to guarantee a nice and docile ‘compliance’ and to generate a climate so miserable that few would tolerate.
6) and hence WRVU broadcast is often ‘dead air’ (auto-rotation DJ HAL). It is likely no one will be listening, but you do know that the VSC will. always. be. watching.
WHAT ARE THE LATEST VSC ABUSES?
Even though Chris Carroll and the VSC have all but broke the back of WRVU by gutting WRVU of autonomy, they continue to turn the screws. Last fall, The VSC, with no explanation, eliminated all non-active students from WRVU participation. Vanderbilt students put together a petition signed by nearly all student DJs, along with personal written statements, and presented it to the VSC in protest. The VSC, after months of feet-dragging, finally considered the petition and finally came up with a decision of provisional restating non-student DJs IF they pay for, AND, pass a back-ground check. !?! Whatever the student’s wishes, The VSC’s message is loud and clear – “non-active students are not welcome”. Why? These DJs have institutional knowledge of how WRVU used to be. Place a wedge between active students and alumni/staff with long running WRVU involvement, and in time, with student attrition, the current status quo, however intolerable, will be accepted as normal. Keep your victims ignorant and compliant.
STEALING FROM PETER TO PAY
PAUL THE VSC
The very students who are getting browbeat and marginalized by the petty bullying of the VSC are the ones paying the VSC ‘adult’ salaries. Vanderbilt University claims they have no say in the actions of the VSC, but Vanderbilt students fund the VSC via mandatory student activity fees. So a cabal of unaccountable ‘adults’ get to push around Vanderbilt students with impunity, and, get paid by the victims! P.A.T.H.E.T.I.C. How can a purported top-tier university tolerate this appalling treatment of their students? The Vanderbilt administration and Board of Trust continues to watch dead-eyed as this embarrassing and shameful act unfolds under their noses.
BUT WAIT, IT GETS WORSE…
As you already know, VSC is trying to sell its only real asset, WRVU’s on-air license. But is Vanderbilt indirectly funding WPLN, the tentative purchaser of the WRVU’s on-air license? Vanderbilt affiliates have bought on-air and online ads from WPLN, that is, Vanderbilt affiliated organizations are providing back-door funding for the shameless destruction of Vanderbilt’s own student organization!
If you have been keeping up with the plight of WRVU, you will know that WRVU Friends and Family launched a sophisticated legal appeal to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) during VSC’s recent attempt at license transfer to WPLN. WRVU F+F petition brought to the attention of the FCC VSC’s attempt to poach a federally designated ‘community asset’ for cash, is not only dubious, quasi-legal, but certainly, in no way, serves the public interest. WRVU Friends and Family’s end goal is to get WRVU back on-air and out of from under the unaccountable petty meddling of the VSC.
It is critical that YOU STAY WITH US, and yes, we are watching the situation very closely.
SOME BACK STORY…
As expected by us here at SaveWRVU, The VSC has been employing the long-game approach. VSC knows that the sale of WRVU will be made easier if they wait it out using natural attrition of students, via graduation, along with a steady drip of intimidation to make the sale of WRVU seem like a foregone conclusion.
VSC’s initial announcement to sell WRVU was made in 2010. It is now 2013. The deadline for the contract agreement between the VSC and NPR has even long passed with no final deal done. The sale has not been completed largely by the large and persistent support of WRVU supporters. It seems WRVU supporters have a bit of a ‘long game’ of their own. For starters, the good people at WRVU Friends and Family have successfully raised some of the several dubious actions directly to the governing organization of community radio licenses, The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), via a series of Petitions to Deny VSC’s intention to poach a public asset for their own cash gain.
Regardless of what you have been led to believe, WRVU license has not been transferred and can still be returned to the students, where it belongs.
WE RECOMMEND THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS:
1) If you have the opportunity to appeal to Vanderbilt Administration or Alumni Relations, relay your disgust. Withhold donating to Vanderbilt pledge drives until they correct this very obvious wrong. Tell Vanderbilt to stop being the dead-eyed, hand-wringing enabler.
2) Contribute to the WRVU Friend and Family Fund. Donate. Get friends and family to donate. Go HERE to donate.