ASUCI Senate passed the Senate Approval for Live-Streaming Senate Meeting (R53-32) resolution with a 16-1-0 vote last Thursday.
The live-streaming of Senate meetings started this year, with their first live-stream occurring on Thursday, Oct. 5. All of the live-streams filmed since the start of this year are archived and available to the public on the ASUCI Senate Facebook page. ASUCI hopes to post the archives on their website eventually as well.
Many details of how the live-stream will function as a tool for the public to put forward questions or concerns have not yet been decided on. During the Senate’s discussion of the bill, it was determined that online comments made during the live-stream would only be considered in a meeting if a Senator chooses to read them out.
The resolution passed states that “a number of individuals may not have the means to access Senate meetings at the place of Woods Cove BC of the Student Center and/or the time of Tuesday and Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and that livestreaming allows for active audience engagement during and after livestreams.”
In addition to making meetings available for those unable to attend, another intent of the live-stream was to make ASUCI more transparent, as complaints of the lack of transparency within ASUCI have previously been presented.
Other student government organizations, such as Associated Students of the University of California, Berkeley, have recorded their Senate meetings for greater public accessibility and transparency in the past.
With the rise of the digital age, there has been greater accessibility to technology. A number of government branches on federal, state and local levels provide video or live-streams of formal meetings for their constituents for greater transparency.
“As a student government in the 21st century, we can do a lot better. The standard we should be aspiring to is one of an open and fair public government that everyone can respect or, at the very least, know that their concerns are going to be heard,” said President of the Senate Tin Hong.
The resolution cited that live-streaming was now “as accessible [and] cost effective as utilizing a smartphone device compared to a professional livestream studio setup.”
Senator Gurneel Boparai, the author of the live-streaming resolution, invested in a 32GB sixth generation iPod, a Rode smartphone microphone, a Rode patch cable, a Sunpak tripod, a 10-foot iPhone charging cable and Ztylus smartphone to tripod adaptor for the live-streaming setup. With the free service Facebook Live provides, the cost of the live-streaming setup totaled $374.90, which was reimbursed to Senator Boparai in a bill that was passed as of Nov. 5.
Since the Senate passed the Senate Approval for Live-Streaming Senate Meetings, the agenda has involved discussion of several resolutions regarding elections codes. Resolutions that are “In Committee” include, The Elections Code Revision for Institutionalizing Slates (R53-31), the Elections Code Revision for Changing the Elections Packet to Elections Website (R53-33) and the Elections Code Revision Public Candidate Forum (R53-34).
Candidates for ASUCI offices are not allowed to establish political parties, and the creation of slates provides an avenue for candidates to share policy goals and coordinate election campaigns with one another. The Elections Code Revision Institutionalizing Slates legislation declares that slates serve a temporary function, solely for the duration of an election or campaign period. This resolution will impact those wanting to run for office because it involves the rules by which candidates will be campaigning.