The Lumberjack student newspaper
Screen grab of Live from HSU's Instagram page.

OPINION: What happened on Live from HSU?

The Live from HSU Instagram stirred with controversial discussion

Live from HSU Instagram stirred with controversial discussion

Social media can be a powerful platform where people can express their opinions and uplift others or it can be a complete abuse of power. Recently the student-run Instagram ‘Live from HSU’ posted several photos about logging practices and the negative effects on forests. A stream of user comments responded. A mix of forestry students and plenty of science majors defended the logging industry, saying that practices have drastically changed in the past 100 years.

Live from HSU brought this up as an open topic for people to bring different opinions to the table, and that’s exactly what happened. The posts got negative and defensive backlash as they were not backed up by factual evidence.

The question is where does one draw the line when it comes to freedom of speech? When it comes to controversial topics the strongest amount of evidence backs up a claim the most.

“I don’t think that using the student-run Instagram was necessarily the best platform to relay his message…”

Maddy Tervet

When emotion and opinion get dragged in the waters get muddy and people lash out angrily. What came out of one post continued to come out with several other posts. Students spoke out in a way to defend the forestry department, but the account continued to respond in an emotional way.

Maddy Tervet is an oceanography and chemistry major at HSU. Tervet said that she thinks the instagram user at the time had a valid point about these issues not being brought up enough.

“But I don’t think that using the student-run Instagram was necessarily the best platform to relay his message,” Tervet said. “I think that if he’d been a lot less hostile in responding to people’s comments and had done his research before he posted, his message would have been well received.”

The controversial topic about the logging industry is that people are clear cutting land due to historic intensive logging. The thing about the logging industry however, is that it has drastically changed over the years. What students are learning extensively now is how to restore the forests and fix what was done years ago. Sustainably managing the forests is what is being emphasized in the current forestry program.

Colleen Sloan was among many of the forestry majors that responded on their defense to the Live from HSU Instagram post.

“I see space for growth and fixing things that are broken,” Sloan said. “We’re in school to learn and go more in depth, so that what happened back in the day can be changed.”

The ‘Live from HSU Quick Start Guide’ specifically states that the purpose of the Instagram is to show what it’s like being a student on this campus and share about their clubs and activities.

“I think that in a lot of cases he crossed the line a bit, but we really try not to intervene. We don’t want to be controlling [the Instagram], we want it to be as authentic as possible.”

Frank Whitlatch, Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications

Students receive a guide as to what they should and should not post at the start of their week and it specifically states, “because you are representing the Humboldt State and the CSU System DO NOT post…” the list goes on to show ‘views on politics or policies’ as one of the things to strictly not post about.

Frank Whitlatch is the associate vice president for marketing and communication at HSU.

“I think that in a lot of cases he crossed the line a bit, but we really try not to intervene,” Whitlatch said. “We don’t want to be controlling [the Instagram], we want it to be as authentic as possible.”

Live from HSU took a student platform and abused its power, discrediting the school and some of its departments. Students took the platform as a way to defend the truth. Plenty, if not all, students responded in an emotional way, but did not fail to back up their comments with data or facts. It was a constant battle when the account responded and continued to make posts with negative rhetoric.

Erik Van Steinburg is a wildlife major and was one of the many students defending misconceptions of the logging industry.

“It’s just not right, a bunch of false statements were said,” Van Steinburg said. “To bash doesn’t make sense. It was emotional based and no facts were supporting [their claims].”

The individual running the account declined to make a comment about the debacle. They took to the Instagram page to call out the journalism department and said that a journalist’s objective viewpoints can be problematic. With this came a new cycle of students and alumni responding all over again.

“Misrepresentation in the media is seldom intentional, but it often happens to people whose viewpoint is radically different from the status-quo,” the individual said in a post.

When emotion fights with emotion, the argument gets nowhere. This was clear as the week went on with several posts ending up the exact same way through the exact same cycle. The posts brought up controversies that should be discussed, but the individual who ran the account lacked the credibility to back up their facts.

A platform like Live from HSU should be used to share a student’s experience here on campus, it can also be a platform where students can have open discussion about a topic they are passionate about.

Students should know full well what kind of power comes with a platform like Instagram, especially when the platform associates with a public university.

Share This Post

More Stories

Nina G uses comedy to start conversations

During the virtual comedy event held by the SDRC, Nina Ghiselli tells her story and emphasizes the importance of student disability resources within schools.

It’s not just the Capitol Police

As the world watched from their televisions on January 6, we witnessed scenes unfold before our eyes that were, to many, unimaginable: supporters of President Trump swarmed the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building, then proceeded to break in and

The San Jose State University Football Team Comes to Humboldt

On a day’s notice from administration, the SJSU football team spends a week and a half in Humboldt practicing because their county did not allow it. Students react to their presence on campus in the midst of a pandemic. Directed

Homelessness in Humboldt, CA

This is the first trailer of a homeless documentary created by HSU students. We have spent months filming and will continue to film throughout the next year. Follow the heartbreaking stories of the homeless community around Humboldt county and the

Thrifty Arcata

Taking a tour of the local thrift shops in Arcata during the COVID-19 pandemic. Directed and produced by Skylar Gaven.

House Plants Generate Peace and Meaning During the Pandemic

Three different people with the same love for plants! House plants have become quite popular these days especially since we’re all basically stuck inside during the pandemic. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but these beautiful green oxygen-makers provide more

Prop 22 represents political favoritism of money over workers’ rights

California’s passing of proposition 22 on Nov. 5 represents a frustrating history of workers’ rights being trampled by the overwhelming influence of greed in politics.  This proposition forces app-based workers to be classified as independent contractors, rather than employees. This

Remembering Evelyn Andrews 10 months after her passing

By Katelyn Dendas It has been 10 months since my friend, teammate and freshman year dorm mate, Evelyn Andrews, passed away. I don’t remember what the grief counselor said or what transpired after that Monday, but I do remember arriving

Protestors seek to defund HSUPD

Two local, activist organizations work together to stage a sit-in against Humboldt State’s police department.

Getting stuck on the Trump train

Writer Anthony Aragon details his experience of accidentally joining a pro-Trump car rally.

Justin Turner exposes the World Series to COVID-19

Justin Turner didn’t need to be the story in the wake of the Dodgers’ first World Series victory in 32 years. Instead here we are, wondering what sort of, if any, punishment Major League Baseball will decide to hand down

Four more years of fear

News Editor Carlos Holguin explains why he is worried about the next four years.

Dismal democracy

The Lumberjack editorial staff comments on America’s flawed electoral system As the world watches the United States 2020 election results, waiting for our pseudodemocratic process to churn out a new president, historically unprecedented voting methods misrepresents the reported Election Day

The Mario triple pack invokes a nostalgia attack

When I was a child, the first video game system I owned was a Nintendo 64. Among the games I played was Super Mario 64. I played it all the time and when I wasn’t playing it, I was lying

Women’s lacrosse drops their competitive season

Greta Roberts, president and player of Humboldt State University’s women’s lacrosse team, made the decision with her coach and teammates to cancel the upcoming spring season. The team decided that not being able to recruit in the fall would be

Dobby’s proposition opinions

Haven’t voted yet? Well, you’re running out of time. Here’s a quick rundown of California’s propositions on the ballot this year

Corporations buy out propositions

In a series of general and misleading advertisements, corporate backers of Propositions 22 and 23 show their grubby hands

CDOR continues virtually

The Campus and Community Dialogue On Race returns covering global justice for Black Lives.

Indigenous Food Sovereignty

Local food management practices of the Tolowa Dee-ni, Yurok and other indigenous peoples.

Humboldt State Admin attempts to discredit the Lumberjack

***A Lumberjack editorial represents both the majority opinion of the student newspaper’s editorial board, nine editors, as well as the overwhelming majority of Humboldt State University’s student body. Collectively, an editorial echos, embodies and advocates for community beliefs.*** Insensitive communications

Music of the Moment 6

21 Savage and Metro Boomin drop a classic with “Savage Mode II”

Spartans arrive at HSU despite campus concerns

***Editor’s note: SJSU football program was tested in congruence with Mountain West conference guidelines*** The Spartans have arrived and this time they’re not carrying spears or shields. Instead the San Jose State football team stepped onto the Humboldt State campus

Music of the Moment 5

After shooting Megan Thee Stallion, Tory Lanez cancels himself

Welcome to the Twilight Zone

Comparisons between episodes of the classic TV show The Twilight Zone and our own dismal reality

Music of the Moment 4

YoungBoy Never Broke Again dodges the sophomore slump with his new album “Top.”

Self-Care Cuts

Changing your hair to change your life

HSU Seaweed Farm sets sail

The first commercially-approved seaweed farm in California will be on the map.

Music of the Moment 3

For better or worse, Big Sean is likely gone for good.

More Layers, More Protection?

Humboldt State demands double masking on campus, does more layers equal more protection?

The Ethnic Studies Bill is a Blessing

Ethnic Studies will thankfully become mandatory for all California State University students – as it should be.

The Complex Interface of Humans and Wildfires

How fire suppression is a mixed bag in Humboldt County Every fire season, blankets of smoke roll over Humboldt County. Here on the coast, that’s as close to wildfires as some of us get. But our practice of fire suppression

Defund HSU’s Police Department

Incidents of racism from the former UPD Chief, past examples of excessive force from current officers and a shrinking university budget.

How Not To Be Bitten By A Kitten

Please prepare to be prey Congratulations, a baby feline has recently come into your life. If they’re anywhere from 2-18 months, they bite. They see you as prey. Because you are prey. You always have been. You always will be.

Graduating Into Uncharted Waters

HSU graduates attempt to navigate a world turned upside-down by COVID-19 In May, Humboldt State University graduated hundreds of students, as it does every year. Unlike past years, graduates didn’t get to shake hands with their respective dean and receive

HSU Cultural Center Budget Slashed

Associated Students leaves student body devastated after significant reductions in cultural center’s budget.

All aboard the plague ship

Unprecedented times are met with normalized behavior, HSU puts students and community members at higher risk after reopening campus and student housing.

Music of the Moment

The hip-hop community rallies behind the Black Lives Matter Movement

Inside the Immune System

How the body uses multiple levels of defense against foreign intruders

Catcalling Can’t Continue

Verbal harassment toward women is about control and the assertion of gender discrimination