ILLINOIS — The wizards of WZRD will be returning to their Northeastern Illinois University radio station in December following a five-month-long suspension.
School administrators locked club members out in June, after accusing the group of misusing funds and violating FCC policies. Following a review by a student government committee, all club members will be allowed back into the station and to keep their format, said Max Grilly, a member of WZRD.
Based on the student government judicial committee’s investigation, Student Leadership Development Acting Director Veronica Rodriguez issued a report last week detailing new requirements for the club.
The station will be allowed to maintain control of its scheduling, programming, entertainment, event planning and implementation. The group must write a new constitution and bylaws with emphasis on defining the membership criteria and the program director’s role.
The constitution must include non-discrimination language as well as grant the program director more power to make sure the station members comply with community standards established by the Student Code of Conduct, according to Rodriquez’s letter. All membership applications for the next year will first go through the Student Leadership Development office.
Additionally, the Student Leadership Development office plans to hire a graduate student to act as an administrative station manager. The duties of this person have not been explicitly outlined, but he will work for the office of student leadership development, according to the recommendation.
The wizards, as club members call themselves, are excited to be let back into the statio, Grilly said. During their suspension, the school hired paid disc jockeys to run the WZRD station.
The group is hoping to negotiate some of the recommendations, Grilly said. They’re concerned about losing autonomy with the hiring of the graduate student and with the Student Leadership Development office’s involvement in the membership process.
“We had a five year plan, we were really kind of trying to make ourselves stronger,” Grilly said. “We didn’t need the university to tell us that.”
Nothing has been said about the charges the wizards were accused of back in June, Grilly said.
As of now, WZRD members have had one meeting with Matthew Specht, the acting assistant for the vice president for student affairs, Specht said. The negations are ongoing, but Specht is ultimately the one who will make the final call as to what policies the wizards must adopt.
“It’s been very positive, and I’m hoping to come up with the best solution,” Specht said.
During a meeting Monday, the station manager and several wizards went into the station and identified pieces of equipment that needed replacing, Grilly said. He felt like this was a major accomplishment.
In addition to the student government committee’s investigation, WZRD members were told another group comprised of students and faculty was reviewing the future of the station. Grilly said the group planned to conduct a survey of students on their views of the station.
The other committee has not yet given its recommendation, which was supposed to be due last week, Grilly said.
By Bailey McGowan, SPLC staff writer. Contact McGowan by email or at (703) 807-1904 ext. 127.