Friday, February 27, 2009

D-blog gets results

Get out your cameras! Get out your mini-digi tape recorders! E-mail received from Bronson Hilliard, CU's Director of Media Stuff:
John: I’m pleased to report to you that after working with the organizers of the Ayers visit, they are waiving all prohibitions against audio and video recording by bloggers, mainstream media, regular citizens and other attendees. They will welcome bloggers and independent journalists, though they ask them to sign in at the media table (which my office will assist in maintaining), and the mainstream media in equal measure. The only thing they ask is that no one disrupt the proceedings by shouting out provocative things at the speakers or disrupting the presentations in any way [we're lookin' at you, Ward Lucas]. I have assured Aaron Smith, the lead organizer, that we will work with folks to try to ensure that, and he, in turn, has assured me that no journalists, bloggers or attendees will be blocked from attending.
Thanks for the personal press release, Bronson! And let me give you my assurance that I, for one, will not shout rude things (except, of course, and only after due consideration, in response to harassment or threats).

Anyway, this all happened just today, after I called Hilliard early to see what reaction, if any, there'd been to the e-mail I wrote to CU Wednesday, detailing Ward's minions' systematic efforts, at earlier Churchill-related events and contrary to CU policy, to shut down recording by those they don't like; and how the March 5 Ayers/Churchill/TBA confab was shaping up to be just more of the same old dissent-crushing.

On the phone, Hilliard provided the unsurprising news that Ayers' contract with the student groups includes an "artist clause," specifically prohibiting recording by anyone, "big" media included, inside the venue. (CU reserves the right to record anything it wants to, for their archives.)

Oh, well. Like I say, not surprising. I asked him a few more questions and started writing the post, when I got an e-mail from Hilliard, saying he was "working on the media policy for the event and trying to make some changes," and asking me to "hold off publishing until I know more."

Sure, what the hell. And, by God, apparently he (and probably others higher up on the Great Chain of Being, CU Subchain) got some changes.

Funny thing is, this must have gone through Ayers, mustn't it? He's the one with the contract. Hard to believe, but maybe I've got a new bestest bud! Billy, hug mah naik!

(An aside: contrary to what Reich-wingers would have you believe, the Weatherpersyns absolutely did not intend to harm anyone with their bimbs.)

Anyway, I also asked Hilliard about David Lane's threatened suit if CU didn't waive the $3,000 security fee the school (as standard practice) charges organizers of such events. He say: "[I]t is our expectation that the fee for security will be paid by the student organizations bringing the event to CU-Boulder."

Well, I feel better. Wonder what the terms are, though? No money down, we know that, but what, zero APR, 100 years to pay? [Update: David Lane: "We aren't paying any bill."]

But wait, there's more! During our phone conversation, "Then Came" Bronson said that he and other relevant CUians (didn't catch whether he said "would" or "might") "revisit" CU's media policy this summer, and that he personally would like to "redraw" some of its provisions. (The ludicrous clause that allows "presiding officers" to determine in all instances what constitutes "obtrusive" recording would be a good place to start.)

All that aside, and despite Hilliard's distinct--let's call it ambivalence--toward bloggers and all their works, he really went to bat for the mom's-basement brigades, didn't he?

So I say again: Get out your cameras! Get out your mini-digi tape recorders!

Update: I asked Bronson Hilliard a few follow-up questions via e-mail:
Did you say changes in CU's media policy "would" or "might" be discussed this summer?

Former CU instructor Ben Whitmer claims the decision to open the event to recording was made "beforehand" by event organizers; in other words, he calls your e-mail, in which you told me that negotiations yesterday led to the changes, a lie. (This is ridiculous on its face, I think, else why didn't they announce it?)

But what in fact was the process that led to the changes? How high up, on both sides, did the discussion go? In particular, was Ayers involved? The assumption here is that he had to have been, being the one with the contract and all.

Was any pressure applied to get the students and principals to agree to the open-recording policy?

Didn't Derrick Jensen have an exclusionary contract as well? Was he involved in the decision?
Bronson wouldn't answer (checking notes here) any of them:
I would prefer not to go down the road of answering process questions at the moment, either regarding what led to the media policy for next week’s event, nor what might lead to media policy changes for the University at some future point. Particularly, I would not care to address Mr. Whitmer’s account. . . .
His perogatoid, of course. Probably couldn't have kept himself from swearing.

Benjie, again, give us your account of how it happened, since apparently you know all about it.

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