Regents Discuss Possible Changes to Public Testimony

During the Board of Regents’ Planning and Development Committee meeting on May 24, regents discussed options for community members to provide public testimony to the Board of Regents during its meetings. Also discussed, were options that could allow business and community members to talk with the regents outside regular business hours. It was suggested that audio public testimony, similar to the system used by the Legislature, would be the best option. Supporting the effort were resolutions from the Faculty Alliance, System Governance Council and USUAA urging the regents to expand testimony options.

Regents strongly expressed that it is important for people off the main campuses to have access to the board. It was also noted that audio testimony is familiar to individuals who testify during the Alaska legislative process.

A facilitated audio call would range from $180-$200 a day including a flat rate for a facilitator and minimal cost per minute for each line dialing in. Video conferencing using existing UA networks would not incur additional costs, but is restricted to specific locations. Audio would allow for two-way conversations and regents could ask questions of those who testify.

Led by information gathered by Regent Mary Hughes, the committee will forward a recommendation to the full board when it meets June 2-3, 2016 in Anchorage. The committee will recommend that public testimony be held by audio on an evening prior to the board meeting. Call-in information would be noticed 30-days prior to the meeting, and agenda items would be posted at least one week prior to the board meeting. In addition to the audio testimony, Hughes suggested that the first night of the board meeting could include a public gathering where community members would have time with regents in an informal setting. This would be in lieu of public testimony during board meetings.

If adopted, the changes to public testimony could likely go into effect for the September 15-16, 2016 board meeting.

“This is the most difficult and thought challenging time on the board of my entire term,” said Regent Hughes. “Our time would be well spent hearing public testimony prior to our meetings.”​
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