Session of September 28, 2017
September 28, 2017
Minutes Recorded by: Daniel Yohe, Secretary
Visitors: Steve Conn, David Vaughn
Call to Order at 11:02 am
Prayer by Senator Bechard
Approval of Minutes
Senator Foster: I would like to motion that we strike what VP Largent said about Whataburger from the record on the grounds of it simply not being true.
Secretary Yohe: I have something. For the first question under President Boatman, I don’t know who it was that said that because nobody announced their name. So could whoever said that let me know?
Senator Boyce: It was me, Senator Boyce.
Minutes approved at 11:06 AM
Sergeant-at-Arms Jobe: Motion to add Senator Byrd to the role as a sub.
PPT Pop: For those who have been sworn in this semester and I have not assigned to a committee, I need your committee preferences. So whether or not you are actively involved in a committee, I need an email with your top three preferences, why you want to be in each of those, stuff like that. Also, we no longer have a chair for the PRR committee. If you are interested in becoming chair of that committee, please go ahead and email me and set up an interview and I will hopefully be conducting interviews this next week.
Senator Gibbs (FAC): Here are your envelopes for the t-shirt money. Pick one up. If you still want to get a t-shirt you will have to be added to the list. We are doing club funding meetings tonight. If you want to come, please show up. Stebbins Aviation conference room right by the business suite at 7:30.
Senator Ladner: What was the price of the t-shirt?
Senator Gibbs: The price changes for the size. I think it’s like $10.40 for a small to extra large and $11.50 for a XXL and an additional $3 for your name on the back.
Senator Foust (Student Life): We don’t have a bill today for the water spigots because we found out that it takes a little more than a visual inspection to see if its compatible. We still have a lot of work to find out which fountains can take those and get a final count on that. We are hoping that by next session we will have a bill.
No special business
No old business
Senator Ladner: Motion to bring a bill to the floor.
Sergeant-at-Arms Jobe: Motion to add Senator Reid to the roll.
Senator Ladner reads FA17-SB6
Senator Imken: Two things. Maybe you should make it “Unrepresented Floor Meeting Funding Bill” to clarify. And the first line of Section B should be ‘event’ rather than ‘events’.
Senator Ladner motions to friendly amend changes
Senator Beckham: When is this meeting and where is it happening?
Senator Ladner: Glaske C103, 5:30-6:30 Sunday.
VP Largent: It’s not for everyone, just two members of each unrepresented floor and some of the chairs will be meeting with them and try to see how they are doing and how we can help them as an opportunity to reach and try to recruit them better than we have in the past.
Senator Ladner: The numbers for funding were based on the people we know are going as well as based on two per each of the 14-15 unrepresented floors as well as a few Senators, so around 30 people. Please don’t come if you just want pizza.
Senator Gibbs: Just y’all’s thoughts. If people show up and there is pizza left over, do we just want to send it back to their floors?
VP Largent: The fall break mission trip down to Houston, the registration is currently in progress and closes on Saturday. I don’t know what time on Saturday. LSM’s Facebook page has full details, and I think the Senate page shared that. If you are interested in that, get registered. It’s $100 for going down (leaving Friday, coming back on Tuesday), so that’s pretty good. You get to help out and make a difference in Houston. Terry Zeitlow was unable to make it this session. There were some scheduling conflicts with a trip he had planned tomorrow but he had to take a flight out today. He will be here on October 12th because next week we do not have session because of Career Fair. Go out to Career Fair next week and get a job.
Senator Ladner: Do we still need people for that?
VP Largent: We don’t need people, no.
Steve Conn: Dr. Morgan asked me to come make an announcement because I think we will be sending out all-campus communications soon, but wanted Senate to be the first ones to know, so you will be able to explain the information in case anyone is asking about it. A couple of years ago, when they were evaluating how to spend money on techniques, we tried to prioritize what we thought was good use of our funds and what was not good use of our funds. Long story short, they’ve decided that cable is something that does not get used a whole lot on campus, but the internet is something that does get used a lot on campus. So they have increased bandwidth significantly in the last couple of years, and as a result have defunded providing cable to all residence halls. There is still cable right now, but moving forward we won’t be doing that anymore. RAs have gone around and checked to find out how many TVs we have on campus and stuff like that. We found that 75% of rooms on campus don’t even have TVs. Among the rooms that have TVs, it doesn’t even mean necessarily that people are using them to watch cable. We do know that most of our internet traffic is Netflix. This data might be old, so as of today this might not be accurate, but the time that they last checked on this particular statistic, they said that Netflix traffic was more than double all the rest of the traffic combined. Which led us to believe that Internet trumps TV in terms of what student want their money going towards. So that’s something that is happening. The goal, though, is to still have, I know a big deal is watching sports, so there are efforts to keep cable in the student center, Solheim, and the cafeteria if people want to watch ESPN they will still be able to do that. That’s what I know right now. I don’t know if people have questions or want to have a discussion about that.
Senator Reid: When you say you are getting rid of cable, does that have anything to do with Ethernet cords?
Steve Conn: No. Longview cable has provided television channels to each room at LeTourneau and we have been paying for it even if people don’t use it and it turns out that a good majority don’t use it.
Senator Foust: He’s talking about the port specifically for cable.
Steve Conn: The fact you don’t know what that is…
Senator Vanecko: Have you looked into the possibility that cable isn’t being used as much because of poor cable ports? Every person I’ve ever talked to that wanted TV always had to have someone service it to get cable to work and that was multiple times per semester. Some people stopped using because it was not worth the effort. Has this been looked into at all?
Steve Conn: I don’t know. If in fact we have a lot of problems across campus, what that would indicate to me that it would also take a financial investment to get the ports working. But I don’t know anything about that particular issue.
Senator Eadah: When was the last time we did the survey seeing people who use cable and don’t use cable? When I walk around my dorm in South, I see a lot of people using cable to watch football on Sundays and TV shows they watch. I feel like a lot of people actually do use cable, so to take away TV would make a lot of people unhappy. Even if we keep just a few channels, maybe just the Sunday channels like CBS and stuff like that.
Steve Conn: I agree. I am not negotiating the contract, that’s not how a contract works. We have done some package deal and I don’t know that the difference between an individual consumer and a corporation. The big thing, the sticking point is sports. Almost everything else is available, but sports is reason we have held on for so long. Results in last night’s res life survey, about 33% s on the Internet the next day. Really, sports is the reason we have held out for so long. So last year when they sent out the Res Life survey, one of the questions was how many of you have a TV and I think the response from that was about 33% said they did, but that is only a third of the people who actually answered that survey. So then they actually had RAs go room to room and see if there was a TV. That number we got back was 24%. I mean, that doesn’t include people who have really nice computer monitors.
Senator Foust: I don’t know if this is logistically possible for a school our size, but I know at NC State they had cable in the rooms, but you had to pay for it. So I guess they would only activate it if you paid for it. Everyone who wanted cable paid for it. But I know they are a much bigger school.
Steve Conn: We deal with Longview Cable. Maybe you know anything about Longview Cable, maybe you don’t. We hate them. I can ask about that. I don’t know what the likelihood of that is.
Senator Gibbs: I was just going to go off what you said about working with Longview Cable. They actually have a monopoly on the city and there is no other cable company but them.
Steve Conn: If you guys want to make some money, make a much better cable company than Longview Cable.
Senator Gibbs: The thing is that I think it’s hard for another company to get in, so they don’t have to change at all because if people want cable they have to get it from them. Doing all of these package deals don’t always work for them, so sometimes they just won’t do it.
Steve Conn: Here’s the thing. I am being a spokesperson to Senate right now. At the end of the day, I am not in negotiations, but there are people in IT and Tony Zappasodi in Student Life that have been having these conversations. Tony understands things to a depth that astounds me as far as the details of various contract options and things like that. I can’t give you the most detail or info on that. What I do know is that you are aware that in general we are trying to save money at the university. The way that you make money is to hike tuition rates. Efforts to save money besides charging you more is reprioritizing techniques. For example, expanding much greater bandwidth. It seems that that is a better service to our students than cable. The data on that didn’t come back from walking around asking students, but it was student-driven data based on usage cases. So there is feedback, but it is feedback from what people are actually doing.
Senator Walters: I just have one question. I think this makes a lot of sense from what I’ve seen walking around campus and stuff, at least where I am, I don’t see a whole lot of people using it. However, the one big concern I have is that some halls like Thomas Hall will have big things for the Super Bowl. I know that’s a very specific instance, but would things like the Super Bowl continue?
Steve Conn: I don’t know. Good question. Specifically, the Super Bowl is on one of those broadcast channels. I don’t get cable at my house but I still get ABC because I bought one of those digital antennas for like $50. I get Fox, ABC, CBS. It’s not Tevo, so I actually have to watch it in real time as it’s happening. Tony said that there’s a rule in the handbook that says no antennas and that they would probably rewrite that. I don’t know if it is in the handbook, but maybe the Res Life standards. He means don’t get a dish to put outside your window and drill into the wall and don’t get one of those big, tall, wiry towers. I think it would still be possible to get broadcast channels like the Super Bowl and ABC. ESPN though is probably the thing that will be most affected and it will be a loss of ESPN for the most part for people that want that.
VP Largent: In IT at the beginning of last semester, when they brought this up, they talked about how it is so easy to get cable throughs streaming services like YouTube TV, Sony has one through PlayStation. They cost like $30 a month, which is not bad if you go in with others. You have streaming cable that is actually good, I know FS1 here cuts out all the time if there is a big game going on. So that was one of those things that so many students have access to that, if we increase the bandwidth we can stream a lot better quality cable.
Steve Conn: The idea is that, for the most part, you can find what you want on the Internet, so increasing people’s ability to access the Internet seems like a good way to go. I believe this is taking affect over the summer, so it won’t affect this year. So when people come back next year. This doesn’t really affect the seniors.
Citizen Vaughn: Have you thought about providing…?
Steve Conn: I haven’t thought about anything
Citizen Vaughn: Could there be discussion about providing cable to major media centers instead of every dorm room?
Steve Conn: Am I in the minutes saying that?
Secretary Yohe: Yes.
Steve Conn: I am telling you early, because we want you to know, but that means we don’t have all the details. We want and are trying to do that, and it is probably going to happen. I think the student center, Solheim, and SAGA. I think that is going to happen. I was talking to Tony about it and he was trying to figure out if we need a cable box or more than we have right now. I didn’t really understand it. I think that is possible, and I don’t want it to be that there is no place to watch TV on campus but at the same time having it in every room doesn’t seem like a wise use at this point.
[Name]: What type of increase as far as internet bandwidth are we going to have?
Steve Conn: The increase already happened last summer. I think we doubled our bandwidth. What happened was we defunded TV then, and this year somehow between student life and IT, they scrapped together enough money to pay for another year of the contract because we wanted the Internet now.
VP Largent: I think it is 2 gigs of bandwidth.
Steve Conn: I think. Again, I’m kind of reporting thirdhand, but I think that’s the case.
Citizen Vaughn: I know you mentioned online Internet services, have you tried reaching out to them to get a contract deal with them instead of just dealing with Longview Cable? You can say students want this many seats for this service and provide something like Sling TV or something like that.
Steve Conn: Yes, that is something that has been discussed, but again I am not in on those discussions. From what I understand, I think that idea is still percolating but I don’t know if people thought it was a very fruitful conversation for some reason. Again, I wasn’t there. I would not want to say yeah that’s going to happen. Don’t expect that, but know that the idea has been considered and discussed. I don’t know how that works and if Sling TV does that kind of thing. What we would probably end up doing is getting a recommendation to students on what services we know that work at LeTourneau and in our Res Halls. And like I said, four people could get together and go in on something.
Senator Reid: Our Secretary had a question.
Secretary Yohe: I was wondering if it would be possible to have it provided only in the lounges of the floors because I know that is a place where people go to watch stuff, especially on Sundays. If we only had the cable that goes to the floor lounges, would that be something that is possible?
Steve Conn: I am pulling out my phone to text about that right now so I don’t forget to ask about that. That’s a good question.
Secretary Yohe: I know for my floor, we do watch stuff in my room right now, but if we only had cable in the lounge I would just move my TV to the lounge.
Steve Conn: That’s a good question, and I’ll see if I can find an answer to that. I told Justin we were going to talk about this and he asked me how long it was going to take. I said I don’t know, it depends on how many questions there are.
Senator Foust: I was going to ask if, as this discussion is moving forward, if it is a possibility that we could get a forum where students can come and relay concerns to people who are actually in the discussions.
Steve Conn: Yes and no. I think the decision of whether or not this is happening, I don’t think that is the conversation that still needs input. Our biggest conversation is what to do next.
Senator Foust: Yeah, that’s what I meant. What alternatives are there.
Steve Conn: Yeah, we can absolutely do that.
VP Largent: I am part of the IT committee, so when we meet this semester I can bring this up.
Steve Conn: You have Justin. Does he count as a representative?
Senator Beckham: The IT department provides network equipment to students, for example at one point ethernet switches. Is there any way you could set up a deal with IT so they could provide the cable antennas for students who want them?
Steve Conn: Justin, could you please add that to your list?
VP Largent: With the ethernet switches, I believe it was for students who couldn’t afford their own and they could lease them for a semester.
Steve Conn: That’s not a bad question. Even if we only had 50 of those and it was first come, first served.
VP Largent: You can make your own wired antenna. I have a friend that did that.
Steve Conn: Digital now, still?
VP Largent: Yeah.
Steve Conn: I guess if all else fails you can get some aluminum foil, but you guys don’t remember that.
Senator Espinoza: I have a smart TV that runs off wifi. I do not miss one college football game, I do not miss one pro football game. All I do is pay $3.99 per game that I want to watch.
Steve Conn: $3.99 per game? What app are you using? I want it.
Senator Espinoza: It’s the wifi. It’s the Internet. It’s the SEC. It’s through Roku TV. I don’t pay for cable, my total bill per month is $40, and that’s for 139 different channels. I have a Clearview that sticks to my window. I plug it into my TV, I have Netflix, Hulu, Pandora. A lot of the Smart TVs now, you can get them for less than $400. There are a lot of TVs coming out this season for Black Friday that are Smart TVs.
Steve Conn: How do you get the sports, though?
Senator Espinoza: Anytime there is a game on, you just go on there and it will highlight it. You just click on it, put your credit card in and pay it.
[Name]: How do you get the 139 channels.
Senator Espinoza: It’s all through the TV.
Steve Conn: 139 apps? And you stream it through those? Well this is a thing.
Senator Espinoza: I haven’t had a cable bill in 4 years maybe.
Steve Conn: I don’t pay for cable anymore either, but I’m missing out on a lot more than you are. You are going to teach me your ways.
Senator Espinoza: My daughter goes to LSU, and I got her one. It’s easy to get a Smart TV, go on Roku.
VP Largent: I just know that Smart TVs sometimes don’t support WPA2 Enterprise. Sometimes in the dorms the TVs don’t work with the wifi because they don’t support WPA2 Enterprise, which is a security standard that is higher up and more expensive to put into devices. When the TV doesn’t support WPA2 Enterprise, you can’t connect to the wifi on the network.
Steve Conn: What you are saying is that if we tell everyone to go buy a Smart TV we need to give some kind of information on how to do this and not do it wrong.
VP Largent: Yeah, we can do that. People will still go out and buy something and wonder why they can’t connect with it.
Steve Conn: Of course they do. I honestly didn’t know about all of this, so this is good.
PPT Pop: That is what I was going to address. I had a friend who had a Roku TV and she couldn’t hook it up to wifi. She did invest and that and couldn’t utilize it because it required a username and password but you can’t insert your username and password to connect to the wifi. If we are getting rid of cable and encouraging the internet thing, if there is there a way to get around that or make it clear to the people coming in that these are the TVs that function on campus and just clarify that because I know that is problematic. She called IT, and IT was no help whatsoever.
VP Largent: There is a certain standard that TVs have to support right now and there is a list of known TVs that work. It’s not suggested that you buy a TV on Black Friday because not all of those TVs have all of this stuff.
Senator Ladner: The newer models are starting to put that kind of thing in because they have students that are going on to campuses that have…
VP Largent: WPA2 Enterprise.
Senator Ladner: Yeah, WPA2 Enterprise. They have this stuff so people can get around it now because they are realizing it is a bigger problem.
Steve Conn: My fax machine runs on WD 40.
Citizen Vaughn: What if you just told the students: more Internet, less cable. There you go.
Steve Conn: That’s kind of what we’ve been getting at.
Senator Bechard: It sounds to me like the decision has been made.
Steve Conn: We are trying not to be jerks about it. We are trying to help people figure out how to get their shows and buy the right TVs. I actually like students and I want student to enjoy it here, but in general it was people enjoy their internet more than they like their TV right now. What you said is not the way the email will be worded but that is, in fact, the summary. I’m glad we had this conversation because If you guys have this many questions, I’m sure there are many more.
VP Largent: Do you know when that email will be sent?
Steve Conn: I do not know, but I know Kristi wanted me to talk to you today. I don’t know if that means it will be sent before the next Senate meeting or not.
VP Largent: Guys, when you get that email, be aware and talk with your floors. Tell them the facts and let them know that the school doesn’t hate them.
Steve Conn: Here’s the thing I’ve learned. In general, people can tend to be cynical, and our student body has the spiritual gift of critical thinking, which sometimes ends up with people thinking that we don’t like television or something like that. That’s not the case. As things continue to get more expensive, we are trying to be careful with people’s tuition dollars. You just have to continue to make the choice of jacking up the prices more and more to pay for all the things, or do you start prioritize things. This is a decision of prioritizing the things. Not everyone is going to agree with that and that some people are going to like it more than others, but we understand. Justin you are going to graduate before any of this?
Senator Eadah: Yeah, I’ll be gone.
Steve Conn: Any more thoughts on this? Comments, concerns?
Senator Ladner: Motion to adjourn
Meeting Adjourned at 11:45 AM