By Kevin Allen
Dear Bryan West, Students’ Union President,
Re: Future plasma screens in MacEwan Student Centre
The Board of Directors of the New University Television Society would like to express concern regarding planned future installations of television plasma screens in MacEwan Student Centre.
We recently found out on April 26, 2004 about a contract between the Students’ Union and a company called Competitive Edge. They are planning to install four plasma television screens in MacEwan Student Centre in the next few weeks and eventually a giant freestanding screen located outside the building. These screens are primarily going to be used for advertising, of which some revenue will find its way back to the SU.
My Board of Directors has asked me to investigate how this decision came about and hopes that the contract would be reconsidered in light of the following. NUTV’s closed circuit television system already fills this niche within the MacEwan Student Centre, and is designed to be a public service venture, rather than a revenue generator. We proactively seek campus content, including SU content, which we display at no charge. Moreover we have arrangements with Campus Security to act as an emergency messaging system. The new monitors promise to have a very similar layout, albeit with different content, which we believe will cause confusion, for both audiences and advertisers, and undermine our work to this date.
To complicate matters further, this project was engineered by the outgoing SU Vice-President Op-Fi, Gavin Preston, who sat on the NUTV Board of Directors. We only found out about the project now that he has finished his term in office. The Board is investigating his legal liability with respect to Board disclosure obligations.
Apparently the common belief in the SU administration was that Gavin had already disseminated this information to us and had our tacit approval, which was not the case.
Do we need two television systems run by levy-supported student organizations in the MacEwan Student Centre? Is this not a duplication of our resources and efforts? We respectfully urge you to reconsider the SU contract with Competitive Edge.
Executive Director, NUTV