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SG website, BullSync missing Senate documents

Students seeking Student Government (SG) documents on BullSync or the SG website have come up empty-handed due to the lack of transcribers and loss of documents in the platform switch. ORACLE PHOTO/LEDA ALVIM

Despite Student Government’s (SG) initiatives for transparency, students seeking minutes from SG Senate meetings are not able to find them on BullSync or the SG website.

The document tabs on these platforms are largely empty. In some tabs, only source code can be found in places where documents are supposed to be. While offers an online guide for students including general information about each branch and its operations as an “accessibility and transparency tool,”  its BullSync is vastly composed of empty folders, missing documents from like Senate meetings and its committees.

Lerren Bradley-Tyler, SG advising, training and operations (SGATO) coordinator, said many of SG’s old files were lost in the platform switch from OrgSync to BullSync’s current host, Campus Labs.

“I know that there was a lot of confusion in the switchover,” she said.

However, Bradley-Tyler was not aware that the majority of files, including executive documents from the first term as a consolidated university, general legislative assembly records and activity and service fee documentation, had not correctly transferred over and are not found on BullSync.

“This is news to me that they’re not in [BullSync],” she said. “That’s something that we can ask the students to start uploading, because we should have all of our files in the drive Box.”

She said that the executive branch’s minutes have been typed up but have not been transferred from Box to BullSync or the SG website because of personal oversight. The same cannot be said for the minutes of the legislative branch. Those minutes, according to Bradley-Tyler, have not been transcribed since the summer.

“I know that we are behind on getting those transcribed because I think that we only have one transcriber right now,” she said. “They’re still catching up from the summer.”

Alliyah Edwards, president of the SG Senate, said that they are currently in the process of hiring new transcribers to correct the shortage.

“Usually we have three to four [transcribers], but right now we only have one,” she said.

Once more transcribers are hired, Edwards said they will not be placed on a set deadline. This is because they are limited in the number of hours they are allowed to work. Senate meetings can run for five hours, and that takes a lot of time to transcribe, according to Edwards.

“The average meeting that takes an hour takes about a week to transcribe,” Edwards said. “Add the Senate to that, and it probably gets a little bit longer.”  

Edwards was adamant that Senate meetings are available to the public via Teams and livestream recordings.

“If a student is to go through our Microsoft Teams channel, which is open for all people, the meeting recording is in the chat,” she said. “They can actually go in and click on the video if they wanted to.”

The meeting video is also uploaded to Box. However, in order to obtain anything from Box, students have to go through the public records request process, which, according to Bradley-Tyler, entails reaching out to SGATO Director Gary Manka or Edwards for access.

Some of the file unavailability is due to the consolidation of the campuses, according to Bradley-Tyler. 

“It’s like recreating the website,” she said. “We had to take all three campuses and merge them into one.”

As meetings continue and people are hired to transcribe them, Bradley expects to upload documents and transcriptions to the websites on a monthly basis.

“It could probably be like a monthly update,” she said. “In November, we’ll upload all of the stuff from October, and then in December, we’ll upload all of the stuff from November.”

A combination of the consolidation, pandemic, host platform switch and lack of transcribers has caused SG to fall behind on making things public, according to Edwards.

“There’s just a lot of things making it really hard for us to upload,” she said.