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USAC approves webcam funding to live stream meetings

By Amanda Schallert

Feb. 12, 2014 1:51 a.m.

UCLA’s undergraduate student government approved funding Tuesday for a webcam to live stream its weekly meetings, though the council still needs to work out the project’s basic logistics.

The Undergraduate Students Association Council plans to live stream its meetings in the future but has not decided which parts of the meetings to film and how to alert students about the change.

With a 9-1-0 vote, the council allocated almost $100 from USAC discretionary funds to pay for a webcam to film the meetings. USAC Campus Events Commissioner Jessica Kim was the only councilmember present who voted against the proposal.

For now, councilmembers do not plan on recording the meetings. They have said they are worried that recording meetings could lead to cyberbullying.

Other aspects of the live streaming process, including which parts of the meetings will be filmed, are still up in the air.

USAC’s new feature may not live stream the “good and welfare” part of USAC meetings, during which councilmembers give their final thoughts after meetings adjourn.Once the meetings adjourn, councilmembers typically talk about more personal topics at the table.

To watch USAC meetings in their entirety, including councilmembers’ final thoughts, students may still have to attend the meetings in Kerckhoff 417.

Councilmembers have claimed at multiple meetings that live streaming meetings could make public commenters feel unsafe and hinder them from honestly sharing their thoughts during USAC discussions.

Berky Nelson, a USAC administrative representative, said at Tuesday’s meeting that he worries public commenters will be haunted by what they say in future years if their words are live streamed and available on the Internet.

Last week, Internal Vice President Avi Oved brought the funding proposal to council, but councilmembers postponed the decision to give themselves more time to discuss it and address councilmember worries.

For example, External Vice President Maryssa Hall raised concerns about the live streaming project “moving too fast” and said she thought the council should establish a more detailed plan about the process before moving forward with the funding allocation.

Though USAC members have talked about live streaming meetings in the past, this is the first time a council has obtained a permit for live streaming.

To work out the policies and procedures for live streaming, USAC may create a committee to head the project.

USAC President John Joanino said he thinks the council will be ready to start live streaming meetings in one to two weeks.

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Amanda Schallert
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