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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Bylaw revises ‘Screw’ oversight

    The Associated Students at the University of Arizona Senate approved a bylaw that took effect Wednesday that states the Zona Screw – a one-page publication handed out at home football and basketball games – now must be approved by ASUA president Tommy Bruce and Zona Zoo executive director David Roost before publication.

    Zona Screw founders created the newsletter during the 2005-2006 men’s basketball season to unite the student section through chants and heckles directed toward the opposing team.

    Last semester, former Zona Zoo director Michael Huston reviewed the newsletter, although that was not mandated by an ASUA bylaw.

    Huston said he asked the Screw to change its content “”one or two”” times during his tenure.

    Bruce and Roost both said they do not want to stifle the publication’s creativity, but Zona Screw editor-in-chief Andy Greenberg said he was “”very worried”” his publication would be censored now that it is under student government control.

    “”We want this to be our publication, and they just say yes or no, and if they say something’s wrong we need to know why,”” Greenberg said. “”It really does worry me because this is our publication and we don’t want them putting anything in it because we’re very proud of it and it’s our thing.””

    Greenberg and his staff must now submit a copy to Bruce and Roost a few days before games so they can approve it and have ASUA pay for the printing costs: approximately $90 for football games and $40 for basketball games.

    For Bruce and Roost, the goal of the Zona Screw remains to get the dirt on the opposition and start creative chants, without personally offending any person or group.

    “”I’m not some 80-year-old woman saying that’s not appropriate,”” Roost said. “”There’s certain things you can’t and certain things you just shouldn’t (say), like questioning a guy’s sexuality – things like that – that’s crossing the line. But if you keep it within reason, it’s all fair game.””

    At the Senate meeting, Sen. Mark Copoulos voiced concerns over changing the “”fundamental basis”” of the newsletter when Bruce said the purpose of the Screw under his leadership would be to “”promote positive cheers (and) a positive atmosphere instead of a negative atmosphere.””

    Copoulos asked, “”Why are (the Zona Screw creators) going to go along with it if they want a negative, jeering attitude?””

    Although the Senate approved the bylaw change, Copoulos remained concerned that the Zona Screw, and its name, sends the wrong message.

    Copoulos said he does not think it is right for UA students to be chanting something like “”DUI”” at an athlete arrested for driving under the influence when the game is being shown on national television, especially when the vitriolic comments stem from a student government-approved newsletter.

    “”I think Zona Screw is a good thing,”” Copoulos said. “”I just don’t know if it’s ASUA’s thing.””

    Greenberg said he believes anything that is public information should be fair game for the Zona Screw.

    Arizona Athletics did not want the Screw to be distributed at games, Bruce said, because there was no oversight or control over it and the athletic department had concerns over its material.

    Their decision led to what Bruce called “”almost a forced relationship,”” and to Zona Screw becoming an official part of Zona Zoo, Bruce said.

    “”It was never like ASUA was trying to take the Screw or the Screw trying to go to ASUA,”” Bruce added. “”It has the potential to be very positive, both financially and for future growth, so now we’re trying to work within that relationship and grow it as positively as we can.

    “”We’ll see where it goes.””

    Although the athletic department never took steps to threaten the Screw, said James Francis, UA assistant athletics director of marketing and ticket sales, Arizona Athletics has heard complaints from non-student fans unhappy with student section chants.

    He said he believes this new oversight will help solve that problem.

    “”(Bruce is) going to understand what’s involved, and I would hope that information passed out would be considered more appropriate and therefore less offensive to visiting teams,”” Francis said.

    Bruce said he has gotten pressure from a number of different sources to make sure he keeps things clean.

    That includes senators like Copoulos, who wants to maintain ASUA’s image, as well as athletic sponsors.

    Bruce said airtime is threatened when television audiences hear Arizona students making inappropriate remarks.

    Despite that, Francis said the school has never lost sponsorships as a direct result of negative chants.

    Suzy Mason, associate athletics director of event operations, said that if the Zona Screw is ever censored and its creators want to disband from ASUA, they would not be able to pass out the newsletter at home games anymore.

    “”They would be treated like anybody else with access to our fans on game day,”” Mason said. “”We deal with that all the time with folks standing outside the gates trying to pass out stuff. Most of it ends up as litter.””

    For all sides, ideally, censorship and its effects will never come up, as ASUA officials hope they can monitor the publication without restricting its content.

    “”The goal of the Screw is to not personally offend anybody or groups,”” Bruce said, “”but the goal is to get the dirt and give things for students to chant and cheer about, and that’s what we’re trying to do.

    “”We just have to look it over because we put our name on it, and by putting our name on it, we’re giving Athletics the approval that you don’t have to worry about it going out at the game.””

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