Editor, Daily Nexus:
As a student of this university, you have certain rights. You can find two other students with similar interests, pay $25 and form an organization. As a group, you’re entitled to certain organizational privileges, such as scheduling campus facilities, renting equipment and posting fliers to advertise an event. The Office of Student Life gives groups like Reel Loud, the Multicultural Drama Company and Sherwood Players the right to budget events and put on productions. And what it gives, it can take away.
At the end of Fall Quarter, OSL suspended the Sherwood Players, after its production of “Dark Rapture,” for violating procedure. The terms of the suspension were that the Sherwood Players were not allowed to schedule campus facilities through the Office of Student Life for Winter Quarter. What the OSL didn’t know is that you can’t bury underground theater. In trying, all you succeed in doing is driving it further underground.
As a student of this university you have other rights. For instance, you can write an opinion article. The OSL may be able to stop a group from renting facilities, but it can’t silence individuals with something to say. It couldn’t stop Matthew Weinglass and Ryan Foland from scheduling the Old Little Theater, which is operated independently of the OSL through the College of Creative Studies. It couldn’t stop them from financing “The Weird Acts” out of their own pockets, distributing fliers by hand and putting on contemporary theater that the audience demands – theater that is not grossly overpriced, does not censor its material, apologize for its content or retreat a single inch.
As a student of this university you should be aware that there are consequences to standing up for your rights. Matthew Weinglass and Ryan Foland will go to trial today to answer allegations that “The Weird Acts” were a violation of Sherwood Player’s suspension. They will defend their right to continue to stage plays, which through sheer will, they’ve managed to do every quarter for the last two years. That tradition is in jeopardy and they need your help. If you see a Sherwood Player on campus today, sign a petition that pledges your support and help keep underground theater alive.
When the truth is made public, power is taken from those who use it to suppress art and is given back to the artist.
PETER MARSHALL SMITH