Home News Reps to students: bring your cameras

Reps to students: bring your cameras

by Jacques Gallant January 31, 2012
Student representatives who sit on Concordia’s highest decision-making bodies are imploring students to bring their own cameras to offer live broadcasts of Board of Governors and Senate meetings.
At last Wednesday’s CSU council meeting, student governor AJ West and student senator Michaela Manson strongly urged students to bring their cameras despite the fact that the BoG has said no to live broadcasts, while Senate is still mulling over the idea.
“I don’t see why you couldn’t do this,” West said at the council meeting. “If they kick you out, well, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. If all else fails, I’ll bring in a camera myself.”
The BoG shot down a motion by a large majority at its January meeting to allow for live broadcasts of its deliberations. The motion had been on the table for quite some time, having first been added to the agenda at the September board meeting by Graduate Students’ Association governor Erik Chevrier, who could not be reached for comment by press time.
The motion had been part of a larger attempt by the GSA, and supported by the Concordia Student Union, to increase transparency at Concordia’s top decision-making body. Other measures that had been included in Chevrier’s motion, and that were ultimately voted down, included more seats for audience members, and a question-and-answer period between the audience and the governors at the end of each meeting.
According to Concordia’s VP institutional relations Bram Freedman, the vote taken by the BoG on live broadcasts also applies to audience members.
But West said that isn’t the case. “The motion voted down was mandating the BoG to film meetings. So if they don’t want to do it, then [students] should just do it themselves,” he said, indicating that he will definitely be bringing a camera to the next BoG meeting.
Freedman pointed out that members of the campus community who don’t manage to get their hands on one of the 20 coveted tickets for seats in the actual BoG meeting room still have access to an overflow room where the meeting is broadcast on a large screen.
But at the council meeting on Wednesday, CSU president Lex Gill mentioned that she has heard of several complaints from students that the audio and visual quality in the overflow room was often poor. In an interview with The Concordian, she said she found it difficult to imagine what would actually happen to a student who brought a camera into the BoG meeting. She also said she would definitely consider bringing one in herself.
“The question of having cameras was so vehemently opposed by the BoG, but we’ve never really had a frank discussion on this,” she said.
A motion for live broadcasts of Senate meetings was presented earlier this month, and is currently being analyzed by its steering committee, which will make a recommendation to Senate at its next meeting.
Freedman said that in the meantime, there is no policy that governs the use of cameras at Senate, but indicated that “should members of the Senate audience choose to bring in cameras to a Senate meeting before a decision has been made, one of the Senators could make a motion to deal with the issue immediately if he or she so wished.”
CSU council meetings have been broadcast live by CUTV since 2010, despite initial opposition by some councillors. CUTV station manager Laura Kneale said in an interview with The Concordian earlier this year that CUTV is definitely interested in also filming BoG and Senate meetings.

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