RPI TV proposal for student wages denied
RPI TV presented a proposal to the Executive Board suggesting that certain RPI TV members be employed by the Union on October 14. The proposal would have RPI TV members paid $15 an hour to cover home hockey games. RPI TV representative Deepti Sachi ’22 said this wage is comparable to what a third party would pay its workers for similar productions. The total cost of the proposal came to $21,060 when budgeting six workers for six hours per game across 39 home hockey games. The six positions needed for the production include a director, a relay and graphics worker, and two to four cameramen. Sachi said that RPI TV's production workers deserve payment next year as games will be broadcast on ESPN+.
Beginning in the 2022-23 season, men’s and women’s hockey games will no longer be broadcast on RPI TV. Instead, they will be available exclusively through ESPN+ per a contract with the Eastern College Athletic Conference. A subscription to ESPN+ costs $6.99 a month, or $69.99 annually. No student discount is currently available. While ESPN will have broadcasting rights to the games, RPI TV will be responsible for putting together the productions in accordance with an agreement between RPI TV and RPI Athletics. RPI TV will receive $5,000 per year from RPI Athletics to help offset the cost of the productions. Sachi stated that RPI TV attempted to increase this number through negotiations but was unsuccessful. The club plans to use the $5,000 to upgrade and maintain its equipment.
While the proposal initially received a warm welcome from E-Board members, attitudes turned upon the realization that the money would be going towards a service that Rensselaer students would not have access to. Many questions were asked about the contract that gave ESPN rights to the broadcasts, such as who negotiated the contract and how much money RPI Athletics receives. President of the Union Yaseen Mahmoud ’22 declared that he would rule any contract-related questions dilatory once it became apparent that Sachi was not aware of any specifics regarding the contract. After much back-and-forth, a motion was brought to close the meeting.
Graduate Representative Brian Anderson told The Polytechnic that the meeting was closed as the discussion was about budgeting. Anderson said that a closed meeting makes it easier to discuss wages, as the potential employee is not in the room. The motion to close the meeting passed, and when the meeting was opened over a half-hour later, it was announced that RPI TV’s motion failed unanimously.
The Union Executive Board meets on Thursdays at 8 pm in the Shelnutt Gallery.