Open Meetings Requirements

University Policy 605.7, Open Meetings Requirements

Executive Summary: 

Meetings of the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees and its committees are generally required to be open to the public and to meet requirements for advance public notice. This policy sets forth the procedures for providing public notice of such meetings.

Policy
In accord with Article 33C, Chapter 143, of the General Statutes of North Carolina and UNC Board of Governors' Guideline 1300.4[G], official meetings of certain UNC Charlotte groups deemed "public bodies" are generally required to be open to the public and to meet particular requirements for advance public notice.
 
Meetings of all public bodies shall be open meetings except where they are permitted by law to be closed. The procedures below concerning notice of such meetings shall be observed.
Definitions
A. Public Bodies
A "public body" is any elected or appointed authority, board, commission, committee, council, or other body of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte that (1) is composed of two or more members and (2) exercises or is authorized to exercise a legislative, policy-making, quasi-judicial, administrative, or advisory function. Consistent with the Board of Governors interpretations of open meetings requirements, the following groups at UNC Charlotte are public bodies:
  1. Groups established by or at the direction of the Chancellor and/or a Vice Chancellor, if all of the following characteristics apply:
  • The membership does not consist exclusively of administrative officers of the University;
  • It is composed of two or more members;
  • Its designated function or subject-matter jurisdiction is University-wide; and
  • It is expressly authorized or directed--
    • to legislate, make policy, adjudicate, or take administrative action, or
    • to make findings concerning or to recommend legislative, policy-making, quasi-judicial, or administrative action.
  1. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte Board of Trustees and its committees.
  2. The following UNC Charlotte groups established pursuant to The Code of the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina: Faculty Council, Hearing Committee, and Grievance Committee.
B. Official Meetings
An "official meeting" is a meeting at any time or place, including by telephone conference or other electronic means, of a majority of the members of a public body for the purpose of conducting hearings, participating in deliberations, or voting upon or otherwise transacting the public business. An official meeting of a public body does not occur if it is a meeting solely among the professional staff of a public body.
 
If the public body's meetings are regularly scheduled on an annual or semi-annual basis, the meetings are considered "regular." If the public body does not have a schedule of "regular" meetings, or if it meets outside of its regular schedule, its meetings are considered "special" meetings. An "emergency" meeting is one that is called because of unexpected circumstances that require immediate consideration by the public body.
Procedures
A. Notice
  1. The Assistant Secretary of the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees and the Chair or other principal officer of all other UNC Charlotte public bodies are responsible for giving notice of all official meetings of the public bodies they represent to the Office of Public Relations as provided below, and shall be referred to in this Policy as "the responsible officer."
  2. The responsible officer shall keep on file a schedule showing the date, time, and place of regular meetings of the public body he or she represents. If the public body revises its schedule of regular meetings, the responsible officer shall have and keep such revised schedule on file at least seven (7) calendar days before the first meeting to which the new schedule applies.
  3. The responsible officer shall give notice of all schedules, revised schedules, and all other meetings to the UNC Charlotte Office of Public Relations on the same day those schedules or meetings are determined. The Office of Public Relations handles all public notice requests after the responsible officer delivers the regular schedule, revised schedule, or notice of special or emergency meetings. Upon written request for notice of meetings from a newspaper, wire service, radio or television station, or any person other than a representative of the media, the Office of Public Relations shall, at least 48 hours before the scheduled time of a special meeting, as defined above, give notice stating the purpose of the meeting (1) by posting written notice on the main bulletin board of the Reese Administration Building and (2) by mailing or delivering written notice to all parties who have requested such notice.
  4. A newspaper, radio or television station, or wire service that requests notice of meetings shall not be charged for such notice, but may be required to renew notice requests annually. A person other than a representative of the media who requests notice shall be charged $10 per year and may be required to renew notice requests quarterly.
  5. For an emergency meeting, the Office of Public Relations shall notify each newspaper, wire service, radio station, or television station that has requested notice, either by telephone or in the same way members of the public body are notified, immediately after notice has been given to the members of the public body, at the expense of the party notified. Persons other than news media shall not receive notice of emergency meetings.
  6. For a meeting that is a recessed session of a regular, special, or emergency meeting, proper notice of which has been given pursuant to items 2, 3, or 5 above and for which the time and place of the adjourned or recessed session has been announced in open session at the original meeting, no further notice of any sort shall be required.
  7. If a public body holds a meeting by conference call or other electronic means, the notice must provide a location and means for members of the public to listen to the meeting.
B. Minutes and Accounts
All public bodies at UNC Charlotte shall keep full and accurate minutes of all official meetings, including any closed sessions. A general account of all closed sessions shall also be kept, "so that a person not in attendance would have a reasonable understanding of what transpired." The minutes and accounts may be written, or by audio, or video recordings. When the minutes and accounts of a meeting are approved by the public body, a copy of the official record of those minutes, or official accounts of closed session meetings shall be delivered to the Office of the Chancellor for public bodies appointed by the Chancellor, the Office of the Provost for public bodies appointed by the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the Office of Student Affairs for public bodies appointed by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, and the Office of Business Affairs for public bodies appointed by the Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs. 
 
Minutes of a closed session may be withheld from public inspection only for so long as public inspection would "frustrate the purpose of a closed session."
C. Closed Sessions
  1. Closed sessions may be held for the following permitted purposes only:
  • to discuss information privileged or confidential pursuant to State or Federal law;
  • to discuss honorary degrees, scholarships, or prizes;
  • to consult with an attorney and to preserve the attorney-client privilege;
  • to discuss the location or expansion of industries or businesses;
  • to discuss real property acquisition (other than by gift or bequest) and employment contracts;
  • to discuss personnel matters; or
  • to discuss alleged criminal misconduct.
  1. To go into a closed session, a motion specifically identifying the legal basis for meeting in closed session shall properly be made and adopted at the open meeting. (Attachment 1)
At the conclusion of the closed session, a motion to go back into open session must be made prior to adjourning the meeting. A motion to adjourn is invalid if it is made in closed session.
D. Compliance
Further information and guidelines on complying with the North Carolina Open Meetings Law is available from the Office of Legal Affairs or online.
 

Attachment 1
 
Motion to go to Closed Session
 
 I move that we go into closed session to:
 
 (Specify one or more of the following permitted reasons for closed sessions)
 
 
___ under _________________ of the North Carolina General Statutes or regulations.
 
___ under _________________ of the regulations or laws of the United States.
 
[N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(1)]
 
___ Prevent the premature disclosure of an honorary award or scholarship.
 
[N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(2)]
 
___ Consult with our attorney:
 
___ to consult with an attorney in order to preserve the attorney client privilege between the attorney and the public body, which privilege is hereby acknowledged.
 
___ to consider and give instructions concerning a potential or actual claim, administrative procedure, or judicial action; if known, title of action is: ______________ v. ______________
 
[N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(3)]
 
___ Discuss matters relating to the location or expansion of business in the area served by this body.
 
[N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(4)]
 
___ Establish or instruct the staff or agent concerning the negotiation of the price and terms of a contract concerning the acquisition of real property.
 
[N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(5)]
 
___ Establish or instruct the staff or agents concerning the negotiations of the amount of compensation or other terms of an employment contract.
 
[N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(5)]
 
___ Consider the qualifications, competence, performance, or condition of appointment of a public officer or employee or prospective public officer or employee.
 
[N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(6)]
 
___ Hear or investigate a complaint, charge, or grievance by or against a public officer or employee.
 
[N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(6)]
 
___ Plan, conduct, or hear reports concerning investigations of alleged criminal conduct.
 
[N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(7)]