Student Government allocates $5,000 for livestreaming cameras


Daniel Caudill

Student Body Vice President Shelby Rowell speaks during officer reports at Wednesday's Senate meeting.

Student Government Association approved $5,000 for cameras which will be used to livestream Student Senate meetings in a way that is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

SGA’s $5,000 allocation, which comes from a $10,000 office expenditure technology fund, will cover the cost of two cameras. The Rhatigan Student Center will provide $12,000 for installation.

Last October, the previous SGA session stopped livestreaming their meetings, citing concerns with ADA compliance. ADA standards require captioning or a sign language interpreter for videos.

“We have to make sure that either (the cameras) are compatible with live-captioning,” Student Body Vice President Shelby Rowell said, “or that we have enough cameras to ensure that if we need an interpreter here, then we can split the screen whenever we’re livestreaming.”

Rowell said SGA is still weighing the cost-effectiveness of live-captioning and having an interpreter, and will choose accordingly.

If they decide to go with an interpreter, the interpreting services would be provided through Student Disability Services.

Rowell said it is uncertain when SGA will be able to start livestreaming meetings this semester. She said she expects the cameras to take at least a month to arrive.

SGA Treasurer Stella Yang said that the cameras, which will be mounted in the Santa Fe Room on the RSC second floor, will be available for use by other student organizations.

“Anyone that uses this room that wants to use the cameras, that’s up to the RSC,” Yang said. “I assume that the RSC will let them use it as well. It’s not just necessarily for senate, but the primary use will be for senate.”

Applied Studies Senator Isaac Rivera raised the question of whether or not SGA would have to foot the bill for future maintenance on the cameras.

SGA Co-Adviser Nancy Loosle said the association would not necessarily be required to cover the full cost of maintenance.

“(The RSC) actually has what’s called a replacement reserve,” Loosle said. “They set aside so much of their budget to go into replacement reserve because they know they have to maintain because they get no state funds and no university funds.”

Wichita State entered an agreement with the National Federation of the Blind in 2016 to adhere to ADA, following a civil rights complaint by blind pre-med student Emily Schlenker.

As part of the agreement, the university must follow ADA’s accessibility standards in its publications and web content.

The legislation for allocating the funds states that if the total cost of the cameras is less than the allocated amount, the remaining dollars will be returned to the SGA office account.