I.F. BOARD MEETINGS
I.F. BOARD MEETINGS
The Board exercises its power and authority to accomplish its responsibilities and duties through Board Meetings. Board Meetings allow the Board to transparently deliberate, take official action, and communicate with the College and community. Board Meetings strictly comply with the Texas Open Meetings Act.
(a) Agenda means a list of subjects to be considered and possibly acted on at a Board Meeting.
(b) Board Meeting means Deliberation by a Board quorum, by itself or with 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. A meeting also includes a gathering that is conducted by the Board or for which the Board is responsible at which a quorum of members of the Board is present that has been called by the Board and at which the Board members receive information from, give information to, ask questions of, or receive questions from any third person, including an employee, about the public business or public policy over which the Board has supervision or control. Board Meetings do not include events where a Board quorum results from individual Trustee attendance at a social, ceremonial, press, or other event. They also do not include simultaneous Trustee attendance at a regional, state, or national convention or workshop.
(c) Closed Session means a limited Board Meeting not open to the public, permitted in limited circumstances by the Texas Open Meetings Act.
(d) Deliberation means a verbal exchange during a Board Meeting concerning an issue within the Board’s jurisdiction or any public business.
(e) Deaf or Hearing-Impaired means having a hearing impairment, even with a speech impairment, which inhibits understanding a proceeding or inhibits speaking with others.
(f) Emergency means that immediate action is required because of an imminent threat to public health and safety or a reasonably unforeseeable situation. It also includes the sudden relocation of a large number of residents from a declared disaster area to the College’s taxing boundaries.
The Board notifies the public of the date, hour, place, and subject(s) of each Board Meeting. The Chancellor or designee posts written notice of each Board Meeting on a bulletin board in The Woodlands Leadership Building and on the College’s public website at least 72 hours before the Board Meeting is scheduled to begin. Each notice includes an Agenda for the Board Meeting. The Chancellor prepares the Agenda for each Board Meeting with the Board Chair’s advice and consent. Any Trustee may place an item on the Agenda.
The Board may recess a Board Meeting to the following business day without posting a new notice if this action is done in good faith and not to circumvent the Texas Open Meetings Act, but the Board must post notice if it continues a reconvened Board Meeting to a third business day.
Notice of Emergency Board Meetings or Agenda items is provided as required by the Texas Open Meetings Act.
The College gives Trustees notice and Agendas of regular and special Board Meetings at least one week in advance, or at least two hours before an Emergency Board Meeting.
I.F.1.04. Time and Place
The Board determines when and where it holds regular and special Board Meetings. Board Meetings are held in the Board Room of the Training and Development Center at 5000 Research Forest Drive, The Woodlands, Texas, 77381 unless otherwise noticed. Board Meetings are usually held on every month’s first Thursday at 6:00 p.m., except in January and July when no regular Board Meetings are scheduled. The Board may decide to meet at a different time, date, or place as long as proper notice is given under the Texas Open Meetings Act.
A budget workshop replaces the regular Board Meeting in July. The Board Chair calls special Board Meetings at his or her discretion or upon the request of three or more Trustees.
I.F.1.05. Board Meeting Procedures
Every Board Meeting is open to the public, except for Closed Sessions as provided by law. The Board does not guarantee a seat for everyone attending a Board Meeting, but some seats may be reserved for the media, staff, and individuals having business before the Board. Except for current Texas peace officers, a person may not carry a firearm openly or concealed at a Board Meeting.
The Board has nine Trustees. Regardless of any vacancies, five Trustees constitute a quorum for Board Meetings. A Board Meeting may not be convened without a quorum. Board Meetings are called to order by the presiding officer—the Board Chair, or the Board Vice-Chair in the Board Chair’s absence. If both the Board Chair and Board Vice-Chair are absent at a Board Meeting, the Trustee with the longest continuous service as a Trustee shall serve as the presiding officer.
The Board acts by adopting or passing resolutions or orders. Any official Board action requires five affirmative votes. The Board votes during open session only. Board Meeting minutes record which Trustee moved and which Trustee seconded the motion. The Board adopts such rules, regulations, and bylaws as it deems advisable. The Board observes the parliamentary procedures in Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised. Robert’s Rules of Order do not override the Board’s policies and procedures. The Board may suspend procedural rules at any Board Meeting by majority vote.
At any given Board Meeting, the Board may only deliberate and/or act on subjects in that Board Meeting’s Agenda. The Board may not respond to citizens’ questions or comments on subjects not noticed in the Agenda. The Board can only respond by citing existing policies or factual information. For subjects not in the Agenda, deliberation and action is limited to placing the subject on a subsequent Board Meeting’s Agenda.
Deliberation is addressed to the Board Chair and then to the entire Board. Discussion is limited to the business currently under deliberation. The Board Chair halts discussion that does not apply to the business before the Board. The Board Chair also halts discussion if the Board has agreed to limit an item’s discussion and that time limit has expired. The Chair does not otherwise interrupt so long as Trustees wish to deliberate an item.
The Board does not allow the following at Board Meetings: personal attacks on a named person or a particular position; name calling; profanity; rude, demeaning, or slanderous remarks; loud or raucous behavior; obscene gestures; accusation of criminal behavior; use of signs and placards; and other disruptive conduct. It is also a crime to substantially obstruct or interfere with a Board Meeting by physical action or verbal utterance with intent to prevent or disrupt it.
The Board and the Chancellor recognize the importance of shared governance and the role of the College’s Faculty Senate Presidents. Faculty Senate Presidents attend all regular Board Meetings and have a standing place on the Agenda to make reports and announcements. They designate one of themselves on a rotating basis as an official faculty representative to make reports and announcements directly to the Board and to provide the Board with a faculty perspective on matters before the Board. The Chancellor remains the chief spokesperson to the Board for faculty, staff, and students. The Board expects that concerns brought to the Board’s attention by the faculty’s representative will have been previously presented to the Chancellor. The Board Chair may call upon the faculty representative during Board Meetings for comments as appropriate.
The Board may consult with its lawyer via teleconference or videoconference. The consultation may occur through an open or closed session as the law allows. Any public consultation by the Board with its attorney must be audible at the physical location specified in the notice as the meeting place.
I.F.1.06. Public Participation
Citizens may address the Board immediately before the Board considers the Consent Agenda if they have registered to speak. Each citizen may speak for up to five minutes, but citizens’ total time is limited to 30 minutes. Groups speaking about an Agenda item appoint a spokesperson. Citizens may register to address the Board (1) online 24 hours before the Board Meeting; or (2) in person by submitting a completed registration form to the Chancellor’s Chief of Staff no later than five minutes before the Board Meeting begins. The Board may allow an individual to testify at a Board Meeting from a remote location by videoconference call.
Policies exist for virtually every employee or student complaint. The Board encourages employees and students to follow appropriate channels before seeking to address the Board. Nothing in this section prohibits any citizen from using the citizen participation process.
The Board provides interpreters in Board proceedings where a party’s legal rights, duties, or privileges are at issue. Upon advance request, the Board supplies a party who is Deaf or Hearing-Impaired with an interpreter licensed by the Texas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
For any regular Board Meeting requiring notice under the Texas Open Meetings Act, the Board:
1. Posts on the College’s public website as early as practical before the Board Meeting—at the same time as it posts public notice of the meeting if possible—any written materials the College provides the Board for use during the Board Meeting. This requirement does not apply to materials provided by the College’s General Counsel or other lawyers retained by the Board or the College;
2. Broadcasts the Board Meeting, other than any closed sessions, over the Internet in the manner prescribed by Section 551.128, Government Code; and
3. Records the broadcast and makes that recording publicly available in an online archive located on the College’s public website.
The Board is not required to broadcast over the Internet if something outside the Board’s control makes broadcasting impossible. The Board broadcasts Board Meetings on the College’s website.
Any person may record a Board Meeting—except for a Closed Session—via audio 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. Citizens wishing to record a Board Meeting must follow the following requirements:
1. The person shall notify the Chancellor’s Office before the Board Meeting, and recording equipment must be assembled and in place at least 30 minutes before the Board Meeting.
2. Recordings will not interfere with Board Meetings in any way. Board Meetings cannot accommodate anyone’s camera angle or recording.
3. The presiding officer may stop the audio or visual recording if it disrupts or interferes with the Board Meeting in any way.
4. Individuals desiring to make recordings with special microphone or lighting arrangements must inform the Chancellor’s Office before the Board Meeting. No strobes, flash lighting, or other bright lights are allowed unless the Chancellor and the Board Chair approve before the Board Meeting.
Individuals using video cameras to record Board Meetings should sit or stand behind the general audience. Individuals that set up stationary equipment must wait for a meeting recess or adjournment before removing it. The public may not record any Closed Session.
I.F.1.07. Closed Sessions
All Board Meeting notices provide for a Closed Session as provided by law. The Board may conduct a Closed Session for any lawful purpose under the Texas Open Meetings Act. No Trustee knowingly participates in, calls for, or organizes any Closed Session except as permitted by law.
The Board may not enter into a Closed Session unless a Board quorum first convenes in an open meeting for which proper notice has been given. During the open meeting, the Board Chair must announce a Closed Session and identify the statute allowing the Closed Session. The Board reconvenes the open meeting after a Closed Session before meeting adjournment.
The Board may not vote or take action in Closed Session; votes and actions on matters deliberated in Closed Session must occur in an open Board Meeting for which proper notice has been given.
Except for private consultations with an attorney advising the College, the Board keeps a certified agenda or makes an audio recording of each Closed Session’s proceedings. Each Trustee ensures that a certified agenda or a recording is being made. 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 Session, indicating the date and time.
The Board Chair or designee certifies that a certified agenda is a true and correct record of the proceedings. If an audio recording is made, it must include announcements by the Board Chair at the beginning and end of the meeting, indicating the date and time.
The Board preserves the certified agenda or audio recording of a closed meeting for at least two years after the date of the meeting. The Board preserves certified agenda and audio recordings during pending legal actions. A certified agenda or audio recording of a closed session is confidential. It is available for public inspection and copying only under a court order issued in Texas Open Meetings Act litigation.
I.F.1.08. Board Meeting Records
The Board approves written minutes of Board Meetings by majority vote. The Board Chair and Board Secretary sign all approved minutes. Approved Board minutes are a legal record of all official Board actions.
The Board keeps minutes of and records each Board Meeting. The minutes state the subject matter of each deliberation and indicate each vote, order, decision, or other action taken. Minutes and recordings of Board Meetings are public records and are available for public inspection and copying upon submitting a Public Information Act request to the Chancellor or designee. The Board’s official minutes are kept in the Chancellor’s Office and are available for review during regular office hours.
I.F.1.09. Trustee Teleconferencing
Trustees may participate in Board Meetings by teleconference if a quorum of the Board is physically present where Board Meetings are usually held. Each part of the open teleconference must be audible to the public where the quorum is physically present. Such Board Meetings are recorded, and the recording is a public record. The entire teleconference must allow two-way communication, and each speaker at the Board Meeting identifies himself or herself before speaking. Even if participating by teleconference, a Trustee not physically present at a Board Meeting is considered absent for purposes of removal for chronic unexcused absences. Identical notice requirements apply to Board Meetings by teleconference. The notice specifies the Board Meeting’s physical location.
I.F.1.10. Videoconference MeetingsThe Board may meet by videoconference, provided all requirements of Section 551.127, Government Code (or any successor section) are met.
LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on December 1, 2016