05.00 Academic Senate Policy on Open Meetings

Approved March 6, 2015

ASCCC Philosophical Statement for Open Meetings

The Executive Committee of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges shares and enacts the values that are important to the organization including dedication to the public good and accountability to the public. The Executive Committee members’ interactions, deliberations, and decision-making are guided by the core values of respect, trust, honesty, openness, and transparency. The Executive Committee enacts these values and shows its commitment to meeting its obligations to the organization by engaging in genuine and responsible behavior as defined in its policies and procedures.  

Executive Committee Meetings

The Academic Senate staff will publish a calendar of all Executive Committee meetings by August 1st of each year. The agenda for each meeting will be posted to the Senate’s website and distributed to member senates using the senate presidents’ listserv at least three working days prior to the beginning of the meeting. Agendas will include the location of the meeting, the start and end times for the meeting, and contact information for those seeking additional information about the meetings.

A conference call can be established at any meeting with prior notice. Any individual requiring the availability of a conference call for an Executive Committee meeting must notify the senate office at least 48 hours prior to the beginning of the meeting.

The Academic Senate will choose meeting locations that are capable of accommodating individuals with disabilities. Individuals that may need special assistance should contact the senate office at least 48 hours before the meeting for staff to make arrangements. Additionally, documents included in the agenda can be made available in alternative formats. Requests for alternative formats should be submitted to the senate office at least 48 hours prior to the meeting.

Executive Committee Meeting Agendas

All items to be discussed at Executive Committee meetings will appear on the published agenda. Each agenda item will be submitted on an approved agenda form that will include a brief description of the item, the action required, and the approximate time for the discussion. All agenda forms must be submitted to the senate office prior to the agenda deadline. Any agenda item submitted with an incomplete or incorrect agenda form will be returned to the requestor.

Urgent agenda items may be added to the agenda if 2/3 or the Executive Committee members present agree. An urgent agenda item must require an action by the Executive Committee prior to the next scheduled meeting. Items that are deemed to not be urgent may be included on the next meeting’s agenda.

Executive Committee Decision Making

All items requiring action by the Executive Committee will be listed as such in the agenda. A motion and a second is required prior to any Executive Committee action. The approval by a majority of voting members present is required for the approval of any motion. 

Voting is normally done by a voice vote. For any vote, a member of the Executive Committee may request a roll call. The requestor of the roll call vote and the votes of each individual member will be recorded in the minutes.

Discussion items do not require a motion and consensus will be used when providing guidance on discussion items.

First and second readings

Most items require only one reading before the Executive Committee takes action. Items that require a first and second reading are Senate papers being considered for adoption and programs for plenary sessions, institutes, and regional meetings. Other items may require a first and second reading at the discretion of the Executive Committee.  

Closed Session of Executive Committee

While the majority of the discussions and decisions of the Executive Committee should be held in public, under certain circumstances the Executive Committee will meet in closed session. The Executive Committee may go into closed session to discuss personnel matters, to interview candidates for the Board of Governors, to discuss possible, pending, or current legal action, and for the discussions of removal of a member of the Executive Committee pursuant to the Senate policy on the Removal of a Member of the Board of Directors.

Any item to be discussed in closed session must be listed as a closed session item on the meeting agenda.  Should a circumstance that warrants a closed session be identified outside of the regular meeting schedule, a Special Closed Session meeting will be called and properly noticed with the Closed Session as the only agenda item.

Any individuals involved in an item being discussed during a closed session will be notified when the agenda is posted and no later than 5 working days prior to the meeting. All members of the Executive Committee, as specified in Article IV, Section I of the Academic Senate’s Bylaws, will be invited to participate in closed session discussions. Any individual involved in a closed session matter may request an open meeting hearing or ask to be included in the closed session. Requests to move a closed session item into an open meeting require a simple majority vote of the Executive Committee members present.

Due to the nature of items discussed during a closed session, the procedure for the taking and reporting of minutes is different than during open session. The secretary will select a minute taker that is not part of the Executive Committee. If the secretary is the subject of the closed session discussion, the executive director will select the minute taker. Printed copies of the minutes will be reviewed and approved at the next meeting of the Executive Committee as a closed session item. All copies of the minutes will be collected and maintained by the Secretary or Executive Director.

Any action taken during closed session will be reported during an open session at the Executive Committee meeting where the action took place.

Minutes

Minutes are recorded by staff to document the information provided on salient issues as well as the deliberations of and actions taken by the members of the Executive Committee. The minutes are descriptive in nature and provide an explanation of the issues. Additional comprehensive detail may be provided on policy and action items. Members may request that more detail be included at any time during deliberation on an item.

Draft minutes are distributed to the Executive Committee with the current meeting agenda.  The draft minutes will be disseminated as a Word document to facilitate edits. Members may submit typographical errors and edits to the secretary or executive director, which will be corrected immediately unless the edit significantly changes the meaning or content of the section. Any substantive changes, including additional information or details to provide context or intent, will be submitted to staff. Staff will merge all changes and comments submitted by Executive Committee members into one document to facilitate discussion at the next meeting when the minutes are scheduled for approval.   

Public Comment

The “public” is defined as any member of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges who is not a member of the Executive Committee, as well as individuals not affiliated with the organization. Individuals serving as liaisons to system partners and other organizations are not considered “public” and may be called upon to provide information necessary to the Executive Committee’s deliberation of an issue.

The public may comment on agenda items at the time the items are entertained. Public comments on an item will only be taken at the beginning of the discussion to ensure appropriate time management of the agenda item. The president has the discretion to allow the public to speak, if and when appropriate. Generally, public comments will not be entertained once the Executive Committee begins deliberation on the agenda item. However, an Executive Committee member may make a motion to suspend the rules to allow comment from the public during the Executive Committee’s deliberation on an agenda item.

The public may comment on items not included on the agenda during the “Public Comments” agenda item only. The Executive Committee may not discuss nor may they take action on public comments associated with items not on the agenda. If an Executive Committee member determines that the issue needs further discussion, the member may submit an agenda item dedicated to the issue at a subsequent meeting.

Public Comments are typically limited to 3 minutes per individual and 30 minutes per agenda item; however, the president may allow further time as necessary. Executive Committee members may make a motion to extend the time for public comments for individuals and per agenda item.

Any individual wishing to make public comments will submit a comment card with his or her name and the organization or entity that he or she represents, which will be included in the minutes. A summary of public comments will be captured in the minutes. Written documentation of oral comments and written documents submitted to the Executive Committee at a meeting will be noted in the minutes and will be included in an addendum or an appendix to the minutes on the website.