“Meeting” means a deliberation among a quorum of the Board, or between a quorum of the board and another person, during which public business or public policy over which the Board has supervision or control is discussed or considered, or during which the Board takes formal action.
“Meeting” also means a gathering:
“Deliberation” means a verbal exchange during a meeting among a quorum of the Board, or between a quorum of the Board and another person, concerning any issue within the jurisdiction of the Board, or any public business.
Every meeting of the Board shall be open to the public. The Board may, however, exclude any witness or witnesses from a hearing during an examination of another witness in the matter being investigated, and may enter into a closed or executive session, as provided by law.
All or any part of an open meeting may be recorded by any person in attendance by means of a tape recorder, video camera, or any other means of aural or visual reproduction. The Board may adopt reasonable rules to maintain order at a meeting, including rules related to the location of recording equipment and the manner in which the recording is conducted. These rules shall not prevent or unreasonably impair a person from exercising the right to record a meeting that is open to the public.
Citizens wishing to either video tape or audio tape a LSCS Board of Trustees meeting must adhere to the following policies:
The Chancellor’s Office must be notified prior to the meeting of the citizen’s interest in recording the proceedings. All equipment that requires setting up must be assembled at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the meeting.
Video and/or audio recording must be conducted in a manner that does not interfere with the operation or proceedings of the meeting. The Board proceedings shall not be interrupted for the purpose of accommodating any individual's camera coverage or tape recording.
The presiding officer at the meeting may stop the audio or visual reproduction if the individual operating the equipment or the equipment is being disruptive or in any way interfering with the orderly conduct of the Board meeting.
Arrangements for placement of any special microphones or lighting equipment must be made with the Chancellor’s staff prior to the beginning of the meeting. No strobes, flash lighting, or other bright lights that would impair the conduct of the meeting shall be used, unless approval has been obtained from the Chancellor and the Chair of the Board prior to the start of the meeting.
Those using video cameras to record the meeting should be located behind the audience area. Stationary equipment that requires setting up shall not be taken down during the course of the meeting, but may be removed during a recess or after the meeting is over.
No tape recorder or video camera shall be allowed in the executive closed session.
Board action shall be carefully recorded by the clerk; when approved, these minutes shall serve as the legal record of official Board actions. The written minutes of all meetings shall be approved by vote of the Board and signed by the Chair and the Secretary of the Board.
The Board shall prepare and retain minutes or make a tape recording of each open meeting. The minutes shall state the subject matter of each deliberation, and shall indicate each vote, order, decision or other action taken. The minutes and tapes are public records, and shall be made available for public inspection and copying upon submission of an appropriate Public Information Act request to the Chancellor or his or her designee.
The official minutes of the Board shall be retained on file in the office of the Chancellor, and shall be available for examination during regular office hours.
The Board shall give written notice of date, hour, place and subject(s) of each meeting it holds.
If the Board recesses an open meeting to the following regular business day, the Board is not required to post notice of the continued meeting if the action is taken in good faith and not to circumvent Government Code Chapter 551. If an open meeting is continued to the following regular business day and, on that following day, the Board continues the meeting to another day; the Board must give the required written notice of the meeting continued to that other day.
Notice of a Board meeting shall be posted on a bulletin board at a place convenient to the public in the central administration office and on its Internet website for at least 72 hours before the scheduled time of the meeting. That notice or a notice posted at another Board-designated place shall at all times be readily accessible to the public for at least 72 hours before the scheduled time of the meeting.
If a member of the public or of the Board inquires at a meeting about a subject for which notice has not been given, the notice provisions do not apply to a statement of specific factual information given in response to the inquiry, or a recitation of existing policy in response to the inquiry. Any deliberation of, or decision about, the subject of the inquiry shall be limited to a proposal to place the subject on the agenda of a subsequent meeting.
Agendas for all meetings shall be sufficiently specific to inform the public of the subjects to be deliberated at the meeting, setting out any special or unusual matters to be considered or any matter in which the public has a particular interest. Deliberations or actions pertaining to the Chancellor or a college president are of particular public interest, and notice of those subjects must be worded with such clarity that the public will understand what the Board proposes to discuss or accomplish.
In an emergency, or when there is an urgent public necessity, the notice of a meeting or the supplemental notice of a subject added to an agenda posted in accordance with law, is sufficient if it is posted for at least two hours before the meeting is convened.
An emergency or urgent public necessity exists only if immediate action is required because of an imminent threat to public health and safety or a reasonably unforeseeable situation including, but not limited to, the sudden relocation of a large number of residents from the area of a declared disaster to a governmental body’s jurisdiction for a reasonable period immediately following the relocation. The Board shall clearly identify the emergency or urgent public necessity for each item in the notice of an emergency meeting, and each item added in a supplemental notice.
The System shall provide notice of each meeting by telephone, facsimile transmission, or electronic mail to any news media that has requested it and agreed to reimburse the System for the cost of providing the special notice. When an emergency meeting is called or an emergency item added to an agenda, the Board chair shall notify by telephone, facsimile transmission, or electronic mail any news media who have previously requested special notice of all meetings. If the reason for the meeting relates to the sudden relocation of a larger number of residents as stated in the Board Policy E.I. 08 herein, notice to the news media must be given not later than one hour before the meeting.
A majority of the members of the Board (e.g., five members of a nine-member Board, regardless of the number of vacancies) constitutes a quorum for meetings for the Board.
Voting shall be by record vote. The name of the person making a motion, the name of a person seconding it, and the vote shall be recorded in the minutes. Five affirmative votes are required for any action to be taken.
No vote shall be taken by secret ballot.
The Board may hold an open or closed meeting by telephone conference call if a quorum of the Board is physically present at the location where Board meetings are usually held.
Each part of the telephone conference call meeting that is required to be open shall be audible to the public at the location where the quorum is present and shall be tape-recorded. The tape recording shall be made available to the public. The location of the meeting shall provide two-way communication during the entire telephone conference call meeting, and the identification of each party to the telephone conference shall be clearly stated before the party speaks.
The telephone conference call meeting is subject to the notice requirements applicable to other meetings. The notice shall specify as the location of the meeting, the location where meetings of the Board are usually held.
A meeting may be held by video-conference call only if a quorum of the Board is physically present at one location of the meeting. A meeting held by video-conference call is subject to the notice requirements applicable to other meetings, in addition to the notice requirements applicable to meetings by video-conference call.
The notice of a meeting to be held by video-conference call must specify as a location of the meeting the location where a quorum of the Board will be physically present, and specify the intent to have a quorum present at that location.
In addition, the notice of the meeting must specify as a location of the meeting each other location where a Board member who will participate in the meeting will be physically present during the meeting. Each of the locations shall be open to the public during the open portions of the meeting.
Each portion of a meeting held by video-conference call, that is required to be open to the public shall be visible and audible to the public at each location specified in the notice.
Each location specified in the notice shall have two-way communication with each other location during the entire meeting. Each participant in the video-conference call, while speaking, shall be clearly visible and audible to each other participant, and during the open portion of the meeting, to the members of the pubic in attendance at a location of the meeting.
The Board shall make at least an audio recording of the meeting. The recording shall be made available to the public for inspection and copying.
The quality of the audio and video signals perceptible at each location of the meeting must meet or exceed standards specified by the Department of Information Resources. The quality of the audio and video signals perceptible by members of the public at each location of the meeting shall:
The Board may allow a member of the public to testify at a meeting from a remote location by video-conference call, even if a Board member is not participating in a meeting from a remote location.
The Board may broadcast an open meeting over the Internet. If the Board broadcasts a meeting over the Internet, it shall establish an Internet site and provide access tot he broadcast from that site. The Board shall provide on the Internet site the same notice of the meeting, within the time required for posting that notice, that the Board is required to post under the Texas Open Meetings Act.
The Board may use a telephone conference call, video-conference call, or communications over the Internet to conduct a public consultation with its attorney in an open meeting of the Board, or a private consultation with its attorney in a closed meeting of the Board.
Each part of a public consultation by the Board with its attorney in an open meeting must be audible to the public at the location specified in the notice of the meeting as the location of the meeting.
This provision does not apply to allow such a consultation with an attorney who is an employee of the System. An attorney who receives compensation for legal services performed, from which employment taxes are deducted by the System, is an employee of the System.
The attendance by a quorum of the Board at a meeting of a committee or agency of the legislature is not considered to be a meeting of the Board if the deliberations at the meeting by the Board members consist only of publicly testifying, publicly commenting and publicly responding to a question asked by a member of the legislative agency or committee.
The Board shall proceed by and through resolutions or orders adopted or passed by the Board. The affirmative vote of a majority of all Board members shall be required to adopt or pass a resolution or order. The Board shall adopt such rules, regulations, and bylaws as it deems advisable.
In a proceeding before the Board in which the legal rights, duties or privileges of a party are to be determined by the Board after an adjudicative hearing, the Board shall supply for a party who is deaf or hearing-impaired an interpreter who has qualifications approved by the Texas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
For purposes of this requirement, “deaf or hearing impaired” means having a hearing impairment, regardless of the existence of a speech impairment, that inhibits comprehension of a proceeding or inhibits communication with others.
The chair of the Board shall call a special meeting at the chair’s discretion, or upon request by three or more members of the Board.
The chair shall call an emergency meeting when the chair, or two or more of the members of the Board determine that an emergency or urgent public necessity warrants the meeting.
Public attendance at Board meetings shall be limited to the number of seats available in the Board room, with the necessary number of seats to be reserved for staff, press and others who have official business at the meetings.
The Board shall observed the parliamentary procedures as found in Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, except as otherwise provided in Board procedural rules, or by law. Procedural rules may be suspended at any Board meeting by majority vote of the members present.
Discussions shall be addressed to the Chair of the Board, and then the entire membership. Discussion shall be directed solely to the business currently under deliberation, and the Board Chair shall halt discussion that does not apply to the business before the Board.
The Board Chair shall also halt discussion if the Board has agreed to a time limitation for discussion of an item, and that time limit has expired. Aside from these limitations, the Chair shall not interfere with debate so long as members wish to address themselves to an item under consideration.
The Board may enter closed session at any time during the meeting, as permitted under the Texas Open Meetings Act.
The presidents of the colleges’ faculty senates may designate from among themselves an official representative of the faculty to attend meetings of the Board. The purpose of the representation is to provide the Board with the faculty perspective in the discussion of matters coming before the Board, pertaining to the welfare of the faculty.
Recognition of this function does not supersede the role of the Chancellor as chief spokesperson to the Board on behalf of faculty, staff and students. Consequently, it is expected that concerns brought to the attention of the Board by the faculty representative will have been previously presented to the Chancellor.
The faculty representative is expected to attend all regular meetings of the Board and will be called upon by the Board chair during the meeting for comments, as appropriate.
Unless otherwise provided, Board meetings shall be held in the Board Room in the District Services and Training Center, 5000 Research Forest Drive, The Woodlands, Texas 77381.
Regular meetings of the board shall be held on the first Thursday of each month at 5:00 p.m., with the exception of January, when no regular meeting is scheduled and July, when a budget workshop shall be scheduled.
The time for special or emergency meetings of the Board shall be as stipulated in the notice for the meeting.
The agenda shall be prepared under the direction of the Chancellor, with the advice and consent of the Chair of the Board. Any Board member may place an item on the agenda.
Members of the Board shall be given notice and agendas of regular and special meetings at least one week prior to the scheduled time of the meeting, and at least two hours prior to the time of an emergency meeting.
If a closed meeting is allowed, the Board shall not conduct the closed meeting unless a quorum of the Board first convenes in an open meeting for which proper notice has been given, and the Board Chair has publicly announced that a closed meeting will be held, and has identified the section or sections of the Texas Open Meetings Act, or other applicable law under which the closed meeting is held. The Board shall reconvene the open meeting after a closed meeting prior to adjourning the meeting.
A final action, decision or vote on a matter deliberated in a closed meeting shall be made only in an open meeting for which proper notice has been given.
The Board shall either keep a certified agenda or make a tape recording of the proceedings of each closed meeting, except for private consultation with the System’s attorney. The certified agenda must include a statement of the subject matter of each deliberation, a record of any further action taken, and an announcement by the board chair at the beginning and end of the closed meeting, indicating the date and time.
The Board Chair shall certify that a certified agenda is a true and correct record of the proceedings. If a tape recording is made, it must include announcements by the Board chair at the beginning and end of the meeting, indicating the date and time.
Closed meetings may not be recorded by an individual Board member against the wishes of the majority of the Board.
The Board shall preserve the certified agenda or tape recording of a closed meeting for at least two years after the date of the meeting. If a legal action involving the meeting is brought within that period, the Board shall preserve the certified agenda or tape recording while the action is pending.
A certified agenda or tape recording of a closed meeting is available for public inspection and copying only under a court order issued as a result of litigation, involving an alleged violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act.
No Board member shall knowingly call or aid in calling or organizing a closed meeting that is not permitted under the Texas Open Meetings Act, close or aid in closing a regular meeting to the public except as permitted under the Texas Open Meetings Act, or participate in a closed meeting that is not permitted under the Texas Open Meetings Act.
No Board member shall participate in a closed meeting knowing that neither a certified agenda nor a tape recording of the closed meeting is being made.
It is an affirmative defense to prosecution for the foregoing prohibitions that the Board member acted in reasonable reliance on a court order or a written interpretation of the Texas Open Meetings Act contained in an opinion of a court of record, the Attorney General or the Board’s attorney.
The term “public comment” provides sufficient notice, under the Texas Open Meetings Act of the subject matter of the “public comment” sessions where the general public addresses the Board about its concerns, and where the Board does not comment or deliberate expect as authorized by Government Code Sec. 551.042.
The term “public comment” is not adequate notice if, prior to the meeting, the Board is aware, or reasonably should have been aware, of specific topics to be raised.
It is a criminal offense for a person, with intent to prevent or disrupt a lawful meeting, to substantially obstruct or interfere with the meeting by physical action or verbal utterance.
Regardless of whether the weapon is concealed or not, a person who has been issued a license to carry a concealed firearm or handgun commits an offense if he or she carries a firearm or handgun at any meeting of the System, unless such possession is specifically allowed by law.
As long as the requirements of the Texas Open Meetings Act are satisfied and the right of citizens to apply to the Board for redress of their grievances is not abridged, the Board need not provide a public forum for every citizen wishing to express an opinion on a matter. Reasonable restraints on the number, length and frequency of presentations are permissible.
The Board may limit the number of persons it will hear on a particular subject, and the frequency with which they appear, so long as the regulation does not abridge constitutionally guaranteed rights of freedom of speech and to petition, not unfairly discriminate among views seeking expression.
Board meetings are held to transact the business of the System, and are open to the public except when executive sessions are permitted by law. Citizens shall be allowed to address the Board by requesting a place on the agenda or during the portion of the meeting designated for communications not on the agenda, as outlined below.
The Board shall set reasonable restraints on the number, length and frequency of presentations.
Public participation is limited to those individuals who are on the agenda, and to that portion of the meeting designated for communications not on the agenda. At all other times during Board meetings, the audience shall not enter into discussion or debate on matters being considered by the Board. No presentation shall exceed five (5) minutes. Delegations of more than five (5) persons shall appoint one person to present their views before the Board.
If the Board chair determines that a person has not attempted to resolve a matter administratively, the person shall be directed to the appropriate policy for attempted resolution before bringing the matter to the Board.
Complaints and concerns for which other resolution channels are provided shall be directed through these channels:
The Board shall designate a portion of its regular monthly meeting to hear comments from individuals who have not requested a place on the agenda. Persons who wish to participate in this portion of the meeting shall sign up as they arrive, indicating the topic about which they wish to speak.
Specific, factual information or recitation of existing policy may be furnished in response to inquiries, but the Board may not deliberate, discuss or make any decision on any subject not on the agenda.
LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on August 7, 2008