Two CUTV screens in the Hall building were damaged in the past week in an act of vandalism. Station manager Laura Kneale, said the damage occurred between March 17 and 22. The station sees this as an attempt to harm the station, and another act of intimidation that she says the station has felt this year.
One screen in front of the People’s Potato on the seventh floor was damaged when a magnet was dragged across the front, damaging the quality of the image. CUTV staff tried to temporarily correct the problem by dragging another magnet across it. A second screen on the fourth floor had its coaxial wires “violently” ripped out.
Kneale said that each screen will cost $1,000 to replace. As of Monday night, she was not sure whether the costs would be covered by CUTV’s insurance.
“For the time being, we’re just trying to find some band-aid solutions that don’t cost anything, and eventually we’ll find something better,” in terms of distribution and better technology. She added later in an email that CUTV has “begun discussions in hopes of securing financing for a whole new system in the future.”
The small network of television screens does not have sound control, amplifying the damage. “Given how puny the network is already, it really was a cruel thing to do,” said Kneale. “It was like kicking a really vulnerable person, like a kid or a grandmother.”
University spokesperson Chris Mota said she had not heard of the story, but later confirmed that action is being taken. “A report has been filed with security, and they’ll follow up depending on where the investigation leads them.” She could not add any more details about the investigations. “Based on what they find, they decide on how to proceed,” she said.
Kneale said that few people had come to the station with suggestions as to who the perpetrators might be. While said she did not have any ideas as to who might have committed the vandalism, she did suspect that the event is part of a trend of media intimidation.
“It has to be linked in some way, not just because of the election period, but also given the hostility that was given against the Link, and a lot of the hostility that came up the [March council meeting],” said Kneale, referring to a small protest in front the Link newspaper’s office before the campaign period began and the recent abrupt close to a CSU council meeting. “I’m not blaming anybody right now, but I feel like given all the different things that have happened both to us and other student media outlets, it just seems that there has to a link somewhere.”
While the other two student media on campus, the Concordian and CJLO radio station, have not seen anything similar to the protest or vandalism, Kneale suggested that it might be effort to create a “weird dichotomy” on campus.
CUTV and its supporters plan to hold a vigil today, March 29, at noon on the seventh floor in what they call an act of solidarity for campus journalism.
The act of vandalism brings the total number of damaged screens at the Hall building to three out of six screens. During routine asbestos maintenance before the fall semester began, university employees accidentally cut the wires for another screen.