Letter to the Editor published in Feb. 7 issue of The Campus Ledger
Dear Editor and members of the campus community:
Five years ago, JCCC nervously waited for Betsy Badger, our over paid “independent investigator,” to present her report to the board. Having packed the boardroom, we filled the Craig Community Auditorium where video streamed the JCCC Board of Trustees meeting.
Board meetings had become standing room only since President Carlsen abruptly retired amid allegations of sexual harassment. For months, we scavenged for information from a board that had been silent and rather disrespectful.
JCCC had not yet created its video server or its YouTube channel, so many of us relied on the rebroadcasts of the meeting and on recorded DVDs produced by JCCC’s production services — and as much as they tried, they couldn’t keep up with the demand.
Those DVDs and rebroadcasts helped me report for The Campus Ledger. Together The Ledger and the board videos helped keep the campus community informed and gave us a voice in what had become a chaotic time for JCCC.
I couldn’t attend every board meeting because I worked the evening shift in the campus library. I’m sure my supervisor would’ve let me attend the meetings, but I also knew that skipping work to go to a meeting would be just the excuse JCCC needed to fire me. Especially since JCCC’s lawyer and a senior member of the administration had previously approached me at work in the library to tell me that I needed a lawyer.
People who were here then remember the moment Badger passed out her 12-page report. The campus was shocked and angry at how incomplete it was and the video shows it.
People also remember Ben Hodge coming in late to board meetings and fumbling with his laptop instead of paying attention to crucial votes that he opposed but then ended up supporting like domestic partnership benefits.
Proud parents and friends remember when the board recognizes the accomplishments of students. Those accomplishments include saving lives, winning national honors and championships, and not just meeting but overcoming challenges.
How would these moments and many others have play out without video?
Of the top 10 videos on JCCC’s YouTube channel, four of them are videos of the board meetings. Viewers have accessed those videos more than 70,000 times. I don’t know how many times JCCC’s video server is accessed but it is accessed.
In the last broadcast of the board meeting (and I do mean last), we learned it costs $40K to produce and broadcast the videos. When JCCC began video recording and broadcasting board meetings in 1995, it was expensive then — and it still is. Yet, what is the cost of no longer doing it?
Eliminating those videos will change the campus culture. It will give people permission to start keeping secrets again and we will slide back into that chaotic time.
I hope students can assume the task of video recording of the meetings as part of a project and that the JCCC Foundation or one of its donors will underwrite it. It works for public television, right?
I’ll start off by giving an entire paycheck to support it. I know $400 isn’t a lot but it means a lot to me and so does this service.
Miguel M. Morales
Proud member of the JCCC campus community