Federal Education Panel Sidetracked by Squabble Over Livestreaming

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A committee scheduled to negotiate a new rule to protect student loan borrowers lost nearly a full day’s work bickering over whether their meeting could be broadcast.

What was supposed to be the opening bid in the contentious renegotiating process of an Obama-era regulation meant to protect federal student loan borrowers, mainly from for-profit colleges, quickly devolved Monday into a marathon debate over whether the event should be livestreamed.

Nearly seven hours into the public meeting, negotiators, including representatives from the entire higher education policy spectrum and Education Department officials, still hadn’t agreed on whether or not the conference should be recorded or streamed live online – an issue that wasn’t even on the docket for consideration.

Here’s what happened:

Charlotte Hancock, the program director for the left-leaning Center for American Progress’s Higher Ed Not Debt campaign, began livestreaming the meeting on Facebook just before it began, around 9 a.m.

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