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UCS discusses virtual meeting procedures, introduces closed captioning for meetings

First general body meeting of the semester includes discussion about community, accessibility

The Undergraduate Council of Students discussed virtual meeting conduct standards, introduced closed captioning for meetings and engaged in community-building exercises during its first general body meeting of the semester Wednesday evening. 

In response to concerns about UCS members’ past behavior during online discussions, the council has been working on a resolution that outlines rules of procedure for its virtual meetings. 

“The objective of these virtual procedures is to clarify how we should be operating in the virtual realm” and to “bring some more accountability and communication within student government,” said UCS Chair of Campus Life and resolution sponsor Zane Ruzicka ’23. 

UCS member Shazain Khan ’24 noted that the virtual meeting environment, necessitated by the University’s remote learning policies since March, is not always conducive to constructive discussion. 

“I commend everyone for being passionate about what they wanted to do and making clear their goals and desires” last semester, Khan said. “However, I do want to reemphasize that I feel like it got heated and a little unprofessional at times.” 

“I do want to try to do our best to have productive and also respectful conversations,” UCS President Jason Carroll ’21 added. 

The Council is planning for the resolution to be formally introduced at its next general body meeting, Carroll said.

Wednesday evening’s meeting was also the first to offer the option to display closed captions through Zoom. Participants will be able to view a live transcript of the meeting if they choose to turn on subtitles, according to Samra Beyene ’22, who worked to implement the function as a part of UCS’s push for greater accessibility. 

In regards to Zoom’s built-in closed captioning feature, UCS has been “especially pushing for that at a university-wide level where we didn’t have access before, and now I believe all Brown accounts do have access to that,” Carroll added.

UCS members also took time to recognize and commend their peers for adapting to the council’s entirely virtual operation last semester. 

“Coming into UCS in the fall (virtually) was a bit weird for everyone,” said UCS member Logan Danker ’24. “But despite all those challenges, we managed to get a considerable amount of work done. It’s going to be a very fast semester again, but it’s great to see everyone and have this great positive energy.”



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