WESU Board Meeting Notes — 2/14/17

WESU Board Meeting — 2/14/17

Sexual Harassment Training:

  • Still shooting to have a sexual harassment training on March 5th. Last time we checked with DC, that was still fine but we should reach out to her again and make sure, as well as to meet with DC again to go over final code of conduct/policy changes. Zazie will email.
  • How much time do we want her to take up in the meeting? Preferably around 15 minutes is the consensus.
  • We will email the staff in advance of the meeting letting them know that this will be happening and to strongly urge people to come in order to get the best possible attendance. We will also send out the changes to the code of conduct a week prior to the meeting.
  • Suggestion proposed to have a box on the application for next season’s shows that ask if you have read and agree to the new sexual harassment policy.
  • Next week we will read the policy again, go over it/make final edits, and get final board approval.

Training:

  • The interest meeting will be on Sunday, 2/119 at 4pm in PAC001.
  • Julia just submitted a Wesleying post, will be making a FB event tonight or tomorrow, and will also make posters and flyer this week.
  • If any board members want to come to the interest meeting, let Julia know! Lara says she will attend.
  • Julia will also send out a staff email telling the staff to alert anyone who is interested in going or emailing Julia to get the details.

Public Relations:

  • Beth wrote a press release for the spring programming and will be sent out this week.

Events:

  • Wyatt is trying to get President of New York Public Radio to give a talk but it would cost a lot of money. He is not sure how much money. He will continue correspondance with her and determine how much it would cost before making a next step, but this would be a really great event.
  • After that, Wyatt will reach out to the SBC for potential funding if it seems reasonable.
  • Potential idea: reach out to Career Center to see if they would be interested in co-sponsoring this event, could be a great way to get funding. Other idea for future speakers: reach out to WESU alums who work at WNYC? Wyatt will look into these, but focus on this talk first.
  • Zazie is interested in helping out with this event.

Pledge Drive Ideas:

  • Still aiming to have a block party this semester, run by Wyatt. Shooting for the end of April as a good goal so it will be warmer. Will establish a specific date at the next meeting.
  • Questions to consider: Who owns the parking lot/who would we need approval from? Probably Wesleyan.
  • Need to be in touch with RD sooner rather than later on this matter for event collaboration.
  • Stuff from last semester: R&B/WesWings brunch, staff promo competition, streaming audio could be a pledge drive pitch, pledge drive concert (could be the same as the block party)
    • Will be discussed fully next meeting.

PSA Project:

  • Climate Ambassadors sent a PSA to Lara to put out over the air–thanks Abby!
  • Julia sent guidelines to WRP and we are waiting to hear what they have made. We should hear back from them soon.
  • Ben G is meeting with CPE staff next Tuesday to brainstorm.
  • Abby will reach out to Active Minds now that she has gotten a PSA from Climate Ambassadors.
  • Should we create a specific folder for these PSAs?

Production:

  • Lara urging people: please make promos if they have a show. There are many people in the boardroom who have shows but don’t have a promo for it yet. Fix that this week! It’s so easy!

Programming Discussion:

 

  • Rick expresses concern that recent programming decisions were presented as both ethical decisions and perfunctory programming decisions. This calls into question the transparency of the board and the governance of the station at large. This is an incredibly important point that must be interested and not taken lightly.
    • Thank you to Rick for coming–starting to work through these questions and decisions together, which is a great start in the right direction.
  • Questions of transparency: why was the decision made when it was? Seemed hasty and unthought from Rick’s end. People acknowledging that it was not a hasty decision but one that was discussed thoroughly at the board meeting though the board notes did not make this clear, and that Ben M sent us the email that we read and we discussed it fully. Lara brings up that the decision was made after programming because it was the first time we could all be in a room together and discuss the issues. Hadley also notes that many programming decisions were made at that time, too, after the schedule was finalized, this was just the one that involved the most discussion and vote.
    • Board acknowledging that this is both an ethical and programming decision and that we should provide further justification. This was not a clear process.
    • Bryan also acknowledging that transparency has been a problem, the board acknowledging why this frustration has built and looking towards how we can fix this and be clearer. We owe this to constituents to justify decisions. Beth echoes these concerns for transparency in order to not have conflicts like this in the future.
    • One of the problems was the board notes that week, which not clear or detailed enough. Ben G to provide more elaborated notes in the future.
  • How do we work to increase transparency then?
    • More detailed board notes
    • Further justification of all decisions, including this one (but all future decisions as well!)
    • Promoting our board hours more. Beth suggests standing up at the staff meeting encouraging staff members to come talk to us about anything any week.
    • More collaboration with Ben M during board hours. Talking more in person in addition to via email.
    • Creating a public affairs code.
  • Elaboration of evidence against programming that Rick & Ben M bring up.
    • The question becomes who is at fault for these beliefs, even if the guests don’t explicitly state them on the show? Bryan argues that even if they don’t say it on the show, if the show urges you to further seek them out and provides a platform for their rhetoric, that he believes that to be a valid criticism. Saying that he doesn’t want a show on the air that debates the merits of zionism/racism. The idea behind that is the host being responsible for their guests.
    • To support the existing evidence brought up originally, Adam mentions Kevin Barrett was also a guest on and promoted by the show (exact episode/date was not provided, will follow up). Barrett has been repeatedly criticized for espousing anti-semitic beliefs that 9/11 was ordered and arranged by Zionist Jews and that America is owned by Israel, who has orchestrated numerous terrorist threats. He has further information of that topic that he will document in more detail than these notes. The Kevin Barrett two-part interview was in July 2014 and July 2011. Alex Jones clips were also played on the show twice, most recently May 25th, 2016–clips were not particularly bad but board members take concern with WESU providing him a platform. Christopher Bollyn was not on the show but on September 7, 2016, she discussed his event being cancelled and urged listeners to check him out–his website that she pointed listeners to includes very anti-semitic content including this article, which blames Jews for countless assassinations and terror attacks.
    • In order to get this in one place and have these thoughts more fully elaborated, these notes are being collected in a separate document with quotes and episode titles/date to present to Ben M. Abby will tell Ben M about that process to keep communication open!
    • We thought that the original evidence was sufficient and clear but was not relayed clearly enough, which is why we are creating a separate, more full document.
    • Other discussion point brought up regarding regarding freedom of speech, with people saying that C can still produce her show, still air it somewhere else, still have it available online for downloads. The argument is not against C or the show existing but rather about WESU providing her an audience and being associated with it. Point brought up, too, that the show does not represent a marginalized group but rather people with an unpopular opinion.
  • Situation with C
    • Many people express regret about the situation and email exchange that occurred with C. Consensus is that we owe her an email response, but that the intention was to always respond but was just not properly conveyed via board notes & emails.
    • The statement she received too was a draft and that wasn’t clear enough. Reiteration that this statement is not intended to be published or posted. A statement will be rewritten after the document with more evidence is made. Never meant to insinuate either that C is a bad person in anyway, just that we don’t support the guests and voices she promotes with her show.
    • What about a meeting with C? Perhaps a full meeting with the board would not be productive or fruitful, but there is discussion about having a smaller group of board members meet with her to explain the decision. This decision will be made more fully next board meeting after we have more of a document and statement, as well.
  • Staff meeting: this will be brought up at the staff meeting, so people talking about how we should bring it up ourselves to explain our actions. We also will have a working draft of our public affairs code at the time to try to explain our thought process.
    • If we bring it up ourselves, the goal is to be transparent and address existing staff concerns. Beth bringing up that this is an issue that people care a lot about and we want to express that we also do care, which we could express with a document and our working code.
    • We will need to be very proactive about timing and scheduling in that meeting to make sure it doesn’t spiral or go over on time, especially since we are also doing the sexual harassment training. Will create a structured idea of how that meeting will go in the coming weeks.
  • Next steps then for everyone?
    • Board members recording criticisms or concerns with the program this week on a separate document to make board justification clearer and to address those concerns. Abby will email tonight and see Ben M in person tomorrow telling him about that process.
    • Bryan will draft some of his thoughts about a public affairs code this weekend for us to look at and discuss next week.
    • Reach out to C after we’ve worked through the document we’re making this week and discuss it again next week, hopefully with Ben M.