REG 04.00.03 – Open Meetings

Authority: Issued by the Chancellor. Changes or exceptions to administrative regulations issued by the Chancellor may only be made by the Chancellor.

History: First Issued: December 13, 2016.

Related Policies: 
NCSU REG04.00.02 – Public Records Requests
NCSU REG01.25.12 – University Record Retention and Disposition Regulation

Additional References:
OMA – Standing Committee Checklist
Motion to Go into Closed Session Checklist

Contact Info:
Vice Chancellor and General Counsel (919-515-3071); Associate Vice Chancellor for Communications (919-515-7373); University Records Officer (919-515-1690)

  1. INTRODUCTION

As a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina and an agency of the State of North Carolina, North Carolina State University (NC State) is a public entity whose qualifying Official Meetings by Public Bodies are required to be conducted consistent with the State’s Open Public Meetings Act. NC State is committed to operating in an environment of openness, honesty and cooperation with members of the public and the news media while observing the integrity and confidentiality of those matters designated as exempt by the General Assembly. This policy is implemented in accordance with the NC Meetings of Public Bodies Act, N.C.G.S. Chapter 143, Article 33C, and the UNC Policy Manual 1300.4[G] (collectively, the Open Public Meetings Act).

  1. SCOPE AND RESPONSIBILITY

This regulation applies to all university Public Bodies that hold an Official Meeting. This regulation does not apply to meetings composed solely of Administrative Officers.  The chair of a Public Body is responsible for ensuring adherence to this regulation and the Open Public Meetings Act.  Questions regarding open meetings obligations may be directed to the Office of General Counsel, University Records Officer.

  1. DEFINITIONS AND SOURCES OF AUTHORITY

2.1 “Administrative Officer” includes all Senior Academic and Administrative Officer Tier-I (SAAO Tier-I), Senior Academic and Administrative Officer Tier-II (SAAO Tier-II), and permanent EHRA Professionals (primary appointment, e.g. departmental heads). Administrative Officers do not include faculty and SHRA staff, students, student workers, temporary employees, volunteers and interns, alumni, and members of the general public.

2.2 “Official Meeting” is a meeting or gathering 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, voting, or otherwise transacting business within the scope of the committee’s jurisdiction or charge.

2.3 “Public Body” is any university appointed committee or group that:

(a) consists of at least 2 members;

(b) at least 1 member is not an Administrative Officer;

(c) is formed by the Board of Trustees, Chancellor, or a Vice Chancellor;

(d) deals with matters that affect NC State on a university-wide basis; and

(e) exercises or is authorized to exercise a legislative, policy-making, quasi-judicial, administrative, or advisory function.

  1. NOTICE OF OFFICIAL MEETINGS

4.1 General

Any university Public Body holding an Official Meeting is responsible for giving notice of its meeting to the public. The chair of the Public Body or his/her designee is responsible for ensuring satisfaction of the notice requirement. The type of notice that must be given depends on the type of Official Meeting the Public Body is holding, which may be classified as either a: 1) regular meeting; 2) recess meeting; 3) emergency meeting; or 4) special meeting.

4.2 Types of Official Meetings

4.2.1 Regular Meeting: A regular meeting occurs when the Public Body maintains a list of pre-scheduled meetings. The Secretary of the University is required to maintain the list of pre-scheduled regular meetings for NC State’s Board of Trustees.  For all other Public Bodies, the chair or his/her designee shall maintain the list of pre-scheduled meetings. A Public Body holding a regular meeting shall provide regular meeting notice.

4.2.2 Recess Meeting: A recess meeting occurs when the Public Body recesses during an Official Meeting to resume at a later time. A Public Body holding a recess meeting shall provide recess notice.

4.2.3 Emergency Meeting: An emergency meeting occurs when the Public Body meets on less than 48 hours notice due to unexpected circumstances requiring immediate consideration. Only business connected with the emergency may be conducted at an emergency meeting. A Public Body holding an emergency meeting shall provide emergency notice.

4.2.4 Special Meeting: A special meeting is any other meeting that is not a regular meeting, recess meeting, or emergency meeting. A Public Body holding a special meeting shall provide  special notice.

4.3 Notice

4.3.1 Regular notice consists of: (a) maintaining a list of pre-scheduled meetings showing the time and place of each regular meeting; (b) posting the regular meeting schedule on the appropriate university’s website; and (c) if a revision is made to the regular meeting schedule, the revision must be completed at least seven (7) days before the rescheduled regular meeting.

4.3.2 Recess notice consists of: (a) adopting a motion for recess in a meeting’s open session; (b) announcing the time and place of the recess meeting in a meeting’s open session; and (c) posting notice of the recess meeting on the appropriate university’s website.

4.3.3 Emergency notice consists of: (a) provision of notice to local media outlets that have filed a written request; (b) immediately after the notice of the emergency meeting was given to the Public Body members; (c) by email, telephone, or the same method used to notify the members of the Public Body.

4.3.4 Special notice consists of: (a) posting notice on the main bulletin board of the building where the special meeting is held or, if a bulletin board does not exist, on the door of the meeting room; (b) which notice states the time, place, and purpose of the special meeting; (c) posting notice of the special meeting on the appropriate university’s website; and (d) providing notice at least 48 hours prior to the special meeting.

  1. MINUTES

All university Public Bodies, through their applicable chairpersons, holding an Official Meeting must ensure full and accurate minutes are taken at its meetings. The purpose of the minutes is to provide a record of actions taken by the Public Body. The Public Body is responsible for complying with records management practices to ensure that the minutes are properly retained and disposed of in accordance with NCSU REG 01.25.12 – University Record Retention and Disposition Regulation. The chair or his/her designee is the custodian of records for each respective Public Body.

  1. CLOSED SESSION

6.1 General

A Public Body may enter a closed session during an Official Meeting and exclude others under statutorily specified instances. To enter a closed session, the Public Body must first make and adopt a motion in open session citing the statutory basis(es) authorizing the closed session. The Motion to Go into Closed Session Checklist should be followed for a list of the statutory permissible reasons for a closed session, as well as guidance on the correct procedures for entering into a closed session and minute requirements.

6.2 Minutes and General Account

A Public Body must keep full and accurate minutes and a general account of its closed sessions. The purpose of the minutes is to document the nature of the action taken in closed session while maintaining the confidentiality of the issue addressed in closed session. The purpose of a general account is to show a record of the general discussion that took place in the closed session. Minutes and a general account of a closed session may be withheld from public inspection so long as public inspection would frustrate the purpose of a closed session.

  1. OTHER RIGHTS

7.1 Advanced Notice Requests

7.1.1 Requests from the News Media. University Communications is the principal liaison with the news media. Any requests for advanced notice of Official Meetings should be directed to the News Services unit within University Communications (919-515-3470). News media may request advanced notice for special and emergency meetings in writing. The request must specifically name the Public Body from whom the notice is sought. Requests must be renewed annually.

7.1.2 Requests from the Public. The public may request advanced notice for special meetings in writing. The request must specifically name the Public Body from whom the notice is sought. Requests for advanced notice of Official Meetings from the public should be directed to the chair of the Public Body from whom the notice is sought. Requests must be renewed quarterly.

  1. DISRUPTION OF A MEETING

Anyone who willfully interrupts, disturbs, or disrupts an Official Meeting and who, upon being directed to leave the meeting by the presiding officer willfully refuses to leave the meeting, may be subject to criminal liability under N.C.G.S. § 143-318.17.