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Student Council enhances meeting security following Zoom-bombing incident, harassment of representatives

Attendees will be automatically muted and the chat function will be deactivated, among other measures

<p>The decision to enhance meeting security comes after last week’s meeting was Zoom-bombed by several members unaffiliated with the University community, who used racist language and conducted sexually inappropriate behavior.&nbsp;</p>

The decision to enhance meeting security comes after last week’s meeting was Zoom-bombed by several members unaffiliated with the University community, who used racist language and conducted sexually inappropriate behavior. 

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Student Council will automatically mute microphones and deactivate cameras and Zoom’s chat function during meetings for the foreseeable future, among a few other smaller features, per a Student Council Executive Board statement released Monday. 

Attendees will also be required to authenticate with Netbadge — the gatekeeping software used to protect University websites, services and applications — before joining Student Council meetings. Individuals without Netbadge credentials, such as the general public, will be able to access recordings of Student Council meetings through a livestream on Youtube. Viewing links will be accessible on Student Council’s website.

The decision to enhance meeting security comes after last week’s meeting was Zoom-bombed by several members unaffiliated with the University community, who used sexually inappropriate behavior and racist language. Although Student Council apologized for the interruption in a tweet Tuesday night, the Executive Board expressed regret for not taking action to implement similar measures earlier in its statement Monday.

“We apologize for not taking these steps sooner, which would have helped prevent our meetings from becoming a platform for hate and bigotry,” the statement said. “We have now determined that we are within legal rights to limit meeting attendance to University-affiliated individuals only and have adjusted our operations accordingly.”

Student Council’s Executive Board has released multiple statements the past two months condemning harassment and threats of violence directed towards its members and passed legislation last week denouncing the attacks. In its statement Monday, the Executive Board repeated its condemnation of the harassment.

Student Council’s Executive Board has also denounced selectively-edited videos posted by Young America’s Foundation — a conservative youth organization — from a November meeting, that led to threats directed towards representatives.

“In the last few months, unauthorized parties have interrupted General Body meetings with racist and hateful speech and have weaponized recordings to target and harass members,” the statement said. “The attacks are not indicative of the space Student Council strives to be and deserve thorough condemnation.”

Student Council President Ellen Yates, a fourth-year College student, also released a statement on Twitter Friday addressing the harassment, intimidation and gaslighting of representatives.

Student Council meets Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. virtually.

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