Rule 10403: Board Meeting Accessibility and Public Participation

1.  Title

Board Meeting Accessibility and Public Participation 

2.  Rule and Regulation

Sec. 1  Compliance with Open Meetings Act.  Meetings of the Board of Regents shall be open to the public, unless otherwise determined by the Board, in accordance with law. Closed executive sessions may be convened as authorized by State law.

Sec. 2  Accessibility to Board Meetings.  People with disabilities interested in witnessing committee and/or Board meetings and requiring communication or other special accommodations should contact the Office of the Board of Regents. 

Sec. 3  Request to Provide Public Testimony on an Agenda Item.  Members of the public are allowed to present written and oral testimony, for a reasonable amount of time as determined by the Chairman of the Board, on any topic listed on the agenda for a Committee or Board meeting that is open to the public. Testimony on topics not listed on the agenda will not be allowed. Members of the public wishing to present testimony shall provide their name and agenda topic they wish to address to the General Counsel to the Board of Regents at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting. Insofar as possible, any person who provides oral testimony before the Board shall provide a written statement of the substance of such person's testimony to the General Counsel to the Board in sufficient time for copies to be distributed to the Regents prior to the meeting. The Board shall consider the public testimony presented to the Board on an issue before making a decision on the issue. The Chairman or a majority of the Board may prescribe sanctions against any person exceeding established time limits or speaking on a topic not relevant to the agenda topic.

Sec. 4  Disruption of Meetings Prohibited.  The disruption of a meeting of the Board of Regents or its committees or any other meeting, procession or gathering sponsored by the Board is prohibited. A person is in violation of this provision if, with intent to prevent or disrupt a lawful meeting of the Board, its committees or any other meeting, procession, or gathering sponsored by the Board, he obstructs or interferes with the meeting, procession, or gathering by physical action or verbal utterance. If possible the individual chairing the meeting or the General Counsel to the Board, other authorized University official or a law enforcement officer should clearly identify the disruptive conduct or verbal utterance and request that the person responsible for the disruption desist.

Sec. 5  Signs and Banners.  Persons may display a sign at a Board or committee meeting by holding or carrying it by hand or otherwise attaching it to their person. No advance permission is required.

5.1  Any person holding or carrying a sign shall exercise due care to avoid bumping, hitting, or injuring any other person.

5.2  Any person holding or carrying a sign shall exercise due care to avoid blocking the view of any other person observing the Board or Committee meeting. This may mean that signs may be displayed only around the perimeter of a room or an audience.

5.3  No person shall display, hold or carry a sign in violation of Texas Penal Code Section 42.05(a).

Sec. 6  Report to Press on Actions of Board.  Reports on actions of the Board on matters of public interest will be given to the press as promptly as possible. These press reports shall be under the direction of the Chairman of the Board of Regents, the Chancellor, or their designated representatives.

Sec. 7  Official Business.   No business other than that placed on the Agenda and posted as required by law shall be officially transacted at a meeting of the Board of Regents or its committees.

3.  Definitions

Sign – any method of displaying a visual message to others.

4.  Relevant Federal and State Statutes 

Texas Education Code Section 51.357 – Public Testimony at Certain Meetings of Governing Boards of General Academic Teaching Institutions 
Texas Government Code, Chapter 551 – Open Meetings 
Texas Penal Code Section 42.05(a) – Disrupting Meeting or Procession 

5.  Relevant System Policies, Procedures, and Forms 

Regents’ Rules and Regulations, Rule 10101 – Board Authority and Duties 
Regents’ Rules and Regulations, Rule 10801 – Policy on Transparency, Accountability, and Access to Information 

6.  Who Should Know 

Board of Regents 
Administration 
Faculty 
Staff 
Students 

7.  System Administration Office(s) Responsible for Rule 

Office of the Board of Regents 

8.  Dates Approved or Amended 

Editorial amendments made on March 30, 2015 
Editorial amendment to the title made May 27, 2014 
Editorial amendment to Number 4 made May 22, 2014 
February 6, 2014 
April 12, 2012 
August 11, 2005
December 10, 2004 

9.  Contact Information 

Questions or comments regarding this Rule should be directed to: 
•  bor@utsystem.edu