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URBANA — Attention, YouTube viewers under 18: Champaign County Board meetings are off limits to you because of the language some of the grown-ups use.

A May 25 email to the board from Angela Patton, chief deputy in the county clerk’s office, said the clerk’s YouTube account has been flagged due to use of profane language, so viewers under 18 can no longer watch the board and committee meeting videos on the office’s YouTube channel, according to county Executive Darlene Kloeppel.

Patton, who didn’t respond to messages left by The News-Gazette, wrote in the email that it was a reminder that board members shouldn’t use any profane language during meetings. She also said meetings “full of personal conjecture, outbursts and swearing” are very difficult to clerk.

County government meetings have been held via Zoom since early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

The meetings can be watched by the public live or later on Facebook, and they’re also rebroadcast on YouTube, where, according to the county clerk’s website, the number of views per meeting video the past year have ranged from zero to more than 100.

County board member Eric Thorsland, a Champaign Democrat, said the YouTube account was restricted due to the use of profanity by several Republican board members.

“This is disappointing behavior at best, and outbursts from the public may be a result of feeling empowered by the example set by several GOP representatives,” he said.

According to Kloeppel, also a Democrat, some members of both parties have been discourteous to others.

She can’t control what board members are going to say in open meetings, she said, though she did once briefly mute the microphone of one board member she said was getting out of hand, but was later advised by the state’s attorney’s office that she can’t do that.

“They don’t get profane too often,” Kloeppel said. “But they’re always making some snide comment to each other or to me.”

Kloeppel also said she’s been handing out materials about politeness, teamwork and getting along for two years, but “it has had no impact.”

“Every fifth or sixth meeting, we have to have a conversation about civility,” she said.

Thorsland said outbursts haven’t been limited to board meetings being conducted on Zoom. There were outbursts during in-person meetings too, he said.

“It’s all part of the show of passion for the county’s business, which is fine on some levels,” he said.

When that’s not fine, he said, is when it evolves into bad language.

Republican board member Brad Passalacqua said he’s heard someone say “damn” during a meeting and he’s sure he’s heard the word “crap” used, “but I haven’t heard anything that I think would warrant a parental warning from YouTube.”

While he’s not giving anyone using profanity at a board meeting a pass, Passalacqua said there’s been a lot of passion over the recent reapportionment process that created a new board district map favored by the Democratic majority and rejected by Republicans.

“I’ve only been on this board since the last election, and I went into this with really high hopes of getting things done, and I’ve been disappointed more every day,” he said.

Fellow board Republican Jodi Wolken of rural Urbana said she didn’t know why the clerk’s YouTube account was flagged for language. There have been heated discussions at board meetings, she said, but, “I’m not sure what actually transpired to cause this to happen.”

“It has been a very difficult couple of months between the two parties,” Wolken said. “I am sure there have been some things said that shouldn’t have been said at the heated moment, but there’s not a meeting that goes by that the Republicans don’t get called racist for some reason or another, and that gets very frustrating.”

Wolken, former president of the Thomasboro Grade School board, said it’s unfortunate that county board members have not been able to work together more.

“For me, that was very disappointing,” she said.

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