Tuesday, August 20

USAC rep. creates TV show


An undergraduate student government representative will launch a
debate television show during third week. The show will be
sanctioned and funded by the Associated Students of UCLA’s
communications board.

The proposal for the program ““ written by Josh Lawson, a
general representative of the Undergraduate Students Association
Council ““ was approved by the communications board in the
fall. The board oversees all campus student media, including the
Daily Bruin and UCLAtv, the campus-wide television network on which
Lawson’s program will air.

Though the program, called “Bruin Beat,” has the
potential to showcase Lawson’s stances as a councilmember,
the communication board approved the program because they saw it as
something that would benefit the student body.

Though many would view it as a conflict of interest that an
office-holder run a media program, Arvli Ward, the Student Media
director and ex officio member of the communications board said
there are no rules banning student government members from creating
their own shows.

“The only way to serve the school is to allow all sorts of
speech; no programming decision is based on it,” Ward
said.

Ward added that if there are any rules restricting
councilmembers from doing their own show, it is up to the governing
council to enforce those rules.

“(Lawson), in our mind, is a student who wants to debate
politics and issues, and that’s great,” said board
director Christopher Hauck.

Hauck said because the board is apolitical in nature, there were
no problems with sponsoring the program.

“Student Media is not endorsing content,” Hauck
said.

Hauck added that several well-known campus politicians have also
been approved by the communications board for programming, such as
former Bruin Republicans President Andrew Jones. However, Jones was
not a member of a student government.

The program, which aims to tackle current major issues affecting
the UCLA community, will also give Lawson the opportunity to bring
to light the issues he has faced with council this year.

Student group funding will be the topic of the first show,
expected to premiere during third week, Lawson said.

Current USAC bylaws allow funding to student groups that are
registered with the Center for Student Programming, and are not
inherently religious or political.

Lawson and his predecessors with similar political ideologies
have been pushing for the past two years for funding to be
available to all student groups, regardless of the nature of their
activities. Lawson has faced steady resistance from the rest of
council to pass his proposal.

Lawson is widely expected to run for the USAC presidency during
the spring 2004 elections.

Many councilmembers said they were not well-informed about the
television programming, including External Vice President Matt
Kaczmarek.

Kaczmarek said he hoped the program would be balanced, but
believes it may be a good outreach tool.

“I’m concerned that there is one individual of USAC
that is putting on a program and seeking to represent all the USAC
offices,” Kaczmarek said. “I hope there is balance in
the discussion.”

But Lawson said he is not hosting the show as a member of USAC
but as a student interested in educating the community on issues
raised during USAC meetings.

“I’m not trying to represent council,” Lawson
said. “I’m hoping to have other councilmembers,
especially those who oppose my views.”

The program will be hosted by Lawson and several members of his
staff, including his chief of staff Brian Neesby. Lawson said the
hosts will raise issues in addition to participating in the
debate.

“We will talk about the presidential elections and Iraq.
… We’ll base the show on what people know and expand on
it,” Lawson said.

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