Updated: Jul 11, 2019
....Continued from Part 1.
On February 12, 2019, the Governing Board officially discussed livestreaming the board meetings.
I spoke again in open session, both to advocate for livestreaming the board meetings and to reiterate my call for a campus climate survey (which I’ve been calling for since August 2018). The approved minutes show that Trustee Hensch responded to my speech by asking the District to (1) investigate if other colleges are livestreaming their meetings, (2) report on the pros and cons of livestreaming.
At the end of the meeting, Trustee Evilsizer asked for a feasibility study on livestreaming, and President Blake agreed to provide a comprehensive report on livestreaming.
I responded to Nancy Ann Hensch’s questions in this email to all trustees and President Blake sent on February 14. Here is an excerpt:
Trustee Hensch: What are the pros and cons?
My answer: ....(Livestreaming) will serve as an accommodation for my disability, it will increase transparency by large and significant measures, and also make the governing board meetings accessible to people who cannot be at the Board meeting due to classes, work or driving distance. It will also provide a better record of Board meeting discussions and motions. Moreover, video recorded conferences will make remote retreats accessible, which could potentially alleviate some of the complaints Trustee Hensch referenced.
I received no response to my e-mail.
Two weeks after this governing board meeting, executive assistant Debra Doerfler emailed me to inquire about the types of disability accommodations that would help me participate in governing board meetings. I offered two adjustments that would help (increase microphone volume and turning the podium direction slightly), but reiterated that livestreaming and captioning remained the most valuable accommodation. In this email conversation, Debra states: “I’ve given Dr. Blake some information on had on file regarding what other districts are doing as well as some information/costs on live streaming and captioning.”
If you had asked me at the end of February, I would have opined that (1) the District seemed committed to giving livestreaming real and serious consideration, and (2) the District appeared to be making progress on the comprehensive feasibility study requested by Trustee Evilsizer.
No feasibility study was ever conducted.
No report was ever generated.
In fact, if it weren’t for the repeated behind-the-scenes lobbying by trustee Nina Deerfield, I suspect that livestreaming would still be stuck in agenda purgatory.
Trustee Nina Deerfield made repeated requests to have livestreaming brought back as an actionable item, but was repeatedly ignored, deflected or stonewalled. She resorted to publicly calling out President Blake and Board president Mark Evilsizer as this excerpt from the April 9, 2019 minutes demonstrates.
After that public shaming, livestreaming was finally placed on the May 12, 2019 agenda as an actionable item.
However, no vote was taken on May 12th. Trustee Hensch was absent. Trustee Evilsizer postponed the motion until the following meeting when Hensch – who teaches special education and therefore would be particularly sensitive to disabilities – could partake in voting on something aligned with her passions.
And that is how livestreaming ended up on the May 28, 2019 governing board agenda.