Campus News

Students’ voices may be heard about R-rated movies

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This spring, students may get a chance to voice their opinions about the R-rated movie restriction on Bethel’s campus, said Jon Nicoletti, a member of Student Council. Student Council tentatively plans to host a forum next semester in which they discuss the possibility of putting some R-rated films on an “approved list,” giving students permission to watch them on campus. The idea of deeming some R-rated movies as allowable was first proposed around five or six years ago, according to Shawn Holtgren, vice president of student development. “In some people’s opinion, there are some R-rated movies that have value and worth,” Holtgren said. Holtgren said that he wrote up a media policy, challenging others to think more critically and holistically about the issue. According to his plan, a student would first request a movie to be added to the approved list. Next, the movie would be reviewed on the Internet Movie Database, which explains why a movie has received the rating it has. Finally, if the movie is still a candidate for approval, a panel of one staff member, one faculty member, and one student would watch the movie and choose to either approve or reject it. His proposal, however, was not put into effect. Andrew DeSelm, who now teaches introduction to film at Indiana University South Bend, did not think that the idea should be used. He believed that the decision making process would be too subjective. In his mind, it was easier to draw a line in the sand. Easier, Holtgren added, but not always best. Now, the subject has been brought up again. Several students suggested to Student Council member Nicoletti that he raise the question a second time, and he did. Now he is spearheading the discussion. The list is not a sure thing, according to Nicoletti, and in any case it will not be put into place this semester. “A lot of responsibility will lie with the R.D.’s,” he said, referring to resident directors of the dormitories. He himself functions as the bridge between Student Council and the resident assistants in discussion of the topic. He added that some resident assistants did not want to be a part of the decision-making process as to which movies would be approved. They stated that they would need a list to enforce. According to the new plan, which Nicoletti said is still in the works; resident directors will likely be chosen to compile the new list. He believes that the student body will be evenly split on the issue, based on his conversations with students in the past. Holtgren said that the decision to not watch R-rated movies was based on the idea that it’s not just about the individual. His philosophy is that, “in a community, you defer.” He also stated that students are able to ask their resident directors for permission to watch R-rated films as it is. “Figuring out where Christ fits into it is a big deal,” Nicoletti said. The date for the forum has not yet been set.
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