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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH KILLDEER MEDIA’S NICK ROBERTS

EDITOR’S NOTE: The images included in this story were of the University of Illinois and campuses in Illinois. This story did not include photography of the Illinois State University campus.

SAMANTHA JILL ANDERSON
Good day and thank you for joining us. I’m Samantha Jill Anderson and this is the inaugural episode of on the pulse Daily News

ANI KASPARIAN
And I’m on the cusp buried. Under normal circumstances, this show would have featured these amazing guests in a bright and lively enclosed space. a gathering of our staff and production crew would have been assembled to produce this brand new show. But that isn’t the case. By our tape air, experts expect that the United States will have surpassed 200,000 Coronavirus, deaths and millions more positive diagnosis of this is. With this in mind. Our first Special Edition will cover the issues of student journalism and education in the age of COVID-19. With us today is the former president of ISU’s transfer student organization, Nick Roberts. He also was the editor of ISU’s literary magazine entitled euphemism. Nick is also an author and poet who produced his first book Killdeer just under a year ago. Nick, welcome to the broadcast.

NICK ROBERTS
How’s it going?

ANI KASPARIAN
So Nick, could you tell us about your bias use campus, especially during the pandemic? How has your school been handling the Coronavirus?

NICK ROBERTS
Yeah. So, at Illinois State University I am currently actually taking a semester or two off from classes due to the fact that COVID is extremely bad at Illinois State University. So, a recent article published by Central Illinois proud indicated that about 1300 students have tested positive ISU as of 9/19. So the current standing is there’s about 930, negative cases 35 positive cases of the 3.6 positivity rate. But if you want to look at our total numbers, there’s 1414, total positive 6981, negative and 8395 total tested. So that just shows you just hold up statistic about exactly what’s going on. So yeah, that’s a little bit of what’s going on. So basically, at ISU about there’s 10% of the classes are in person. And they’re either in person or they’re hybrid courses. So that means that they meet like, maybe once a week and like a studio or something like that. And just other things as well. So, yeah, that’s just a little bit about some numbers and things going on, honestly right now.

ANI KASPARIAN
Thank you for that. So your university has actually caught national news attention when the boy is a Canadian youtuber group hosted a party on your college campus, bringing in a large number of people together, the number clearly violated the rules of the town that stated no more gatherings of more than 10 people at a time. Tell me what do you know exactly about this party? And were you there yourself?

NICK ROBERTS
Yeah. Making news like all I know, an article published by BuzzFeed, talked about it a little bit. It’s under “YouTube is Demonetizing popular frat channel Nelk boys.” And that’s the title of the article. So on September 19, the Nelk boys came to ICU, attracting crowds of like, I think it was 70 or 80, or maybe even 100 students at one of our largest and most expensive apartment complexes, and they’re actually monetized on YouTube. So what the what the university is doing now in order to sort of handle this situation is they are potentially suspending and finding every single student that can be identified or had any sort of connection to the event. And it was just – I remember watching the videos there was absolutely no. Don’t masks in sight, lots of alcohol, lots of drug use some potential drug use, possibly. And it was just just a very, very messy situation. And so the president of ISU is now potentially, like I said, finding and suspending students that were associated.

ANI KASPARIAN
Okay. You’ve been very outspoken against all the things that have happened at this party and your views have been read by many people. Can you take us through the process of what you had been preaching up to this point and up to the point where even the president of ISU Larry Deetz blocked you on social media is quite an achievement for a social media person. So, tell me, what do you think was the cause of this?

NICK ROBERTS
Um, so that’s our, that’s also a really funny story. So I was very, very vocal on my social media, specifically Facebook, where I was friends with the president of ISU Larry Dietz, on Facebook. So essentially, his Facebook page is run by a media team of students, I own my State University. And basically, two or three times every day, I would just share an article about how ISU has 600 700 now 1000 now 1300, now 1400 positive cases, and I would tag Larry Dietz in it, and I would tag Illinois State University in the US as well. And essentially, I didn’t hear anything from the the media intern or whoever was running his page. And I noticed one day when I tried to tag him and oppose his name wouldn’t like necessarily pop up, and I couldn’t click on it anymore. And so when I go to his page, and I look through my friends list, I am no longer there. He’s on Facebook, which is quite the achievement, I suppose, as a undergraduate. But I have been very, very vocal to my fellow students, to my fellow ministers, family friends in the Bloomington normal zoning area, about staying at home, following these guidelines, following what needs to happen, and in order to just flatten the curve. So we have just been like, just like dealing with so much state right now. So we currently have are actually in 20, we had 21,039 students. So that is a pretty big number, compared to some other schools in the area, besides UI, of course. And so when we started seeing numbers in the hundreds, and in the hundreds, and hundreds and hundreds, and the 1000s things, just things got really scary in Central Illinois. So I have been sort of practicing what I preach and staying home just going to my job and being very, very sorry, blonde, with friends that I see on social media that are going out that are bars that are just doing things like that. Yeah, that’s just a little bit about what’s going on with me.

ANI KASPARIAN
So practicing what you preach and staying safe doesn’t seem like something that I would block you for if I was president, what do you think was the the last straw for him to want to block you? What were some things that you said that maybe provoked him?

NICK ROBERTS
So um, if I look through my Facebook, I would share things on Facebook saying like, and it’s not only me, that has been putting pressure on him as a student, but a large majority of the faculty at Illinois State has been putting pressure on him as well. So I’m an English department, university where I’m studying creative writing, and our associate for the English, Brian rujak, wrote a open letter to President deeds and fellow administrators at ISU and said quote, you can’t just explain away 1300 cases by claiming that we test more than other schools. Because after people in the area, we’re putting a lot of pressure on deeds in order to get him to potentially shut up and just see what exactly what we’re saying or feeling. Deeds came out with a big public statement in his state of like, sort of like a state of the union address for a president and he said the truth is many state universities don’t test nearly as much as is you and don’t transparently report positive cases as ISU. Other universities test so often that their positivity rates skew lower through simple division. The ultimate fact is that Coronavirus impacts Illinois universities in a similar fashion. The more students more likely the incident of Coronavirus and create accounting and reporting does not alter that fact. So when he published his written statement and his video statement on his social media, I would simply share it and I would give him other facts about other schools.

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