At Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting, members of the public who attend will have their voices heard for the first time.
As stated in the changes to the board’s standing orders, 30 minutes of preregistered public expression will now be devoted to listening to the outside individuals’ remarks.
The adopted changes were voted upon during the public session in July where James Broadhurst, chair of the Committee on Governance and Long-range Planning, brought it up to the board and will be assigned to all future meetings as well.
Trustee Anthony Lubrano , who was elected into his position by alumni in July , said he questioned months ago why the board never allotted time for public comment.
“I’d like to think the genesis of the policy is the result of prodding on my part back to January,” Lubrano said.
The first 10 people who register will be allowed a three-minute window to address the board with their comments, which allows 30 minutes for public expression after the president gives his report.
The request to address form is due 48 hours before the start of the meeting and requires the applicant to fill out personal information as well as describe the nature of their comments.
Participants should note that the board has the right to refrain from comment on certain topics such as pending or threatened litigation involving the university, grievances of individual students or employees and issues under negotiation as part of the university’s bargain process. For a full list, read the guidelines on the board’s website.
Student Trustee Peter Khoury said he approves of the structure of the public comment session and called it a “large step in the right direction” because it allows for people to ask relevant questions that pertain to the meeting’s agenda, which are typically posted online one week in advance of the meeting.
Khoury said that this time of year is when the board will focus on topics such as state appropriations.
“I hope that students recognize this as an opportunity to touch upon items that are voted upon at meetings,” he said.
But, if the changes to the standing orders don’t satisfy the needs of the people, the Board will head back to the drawing boards to revise, Lubrano said.
Lubrano said that although most of the questions that people probably want to confront the board about are not on the approved list of topics, he will still be at the meeting with a microphone in front of him to speak up and answer questions.