Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about communicating during the board’s formal sessions

  1. What is “public comment”?

    Public comment is the time when members of the public, including members of the University community, may address the Board of Trustees of Western Michigan University during its formal session.
  2. Who is allowed to speak?

    Anyone—students, staff, parents, citizens—may submit a request to address the board at the formal session. The number of people who will be allowed to speak will be in accordance with board procedures.
  3. How and where do I submit my request to address the board at its formal session?

    To address the board in formal session, you must submit a written comment request prior to the beginning of the formal session. Comment request cards will be available in the office of the Board of Trustees in the Seibert Administration Building, and will also be available at a table outside the room in which the formal session of the board will be held. A person wishing to address the board may:

    Submit a request for public comment to the secretary of the board prior to the day of the formal session; or

    Submit a completed public comment request card on the day of the formal session to the person staffing the table outside the meeting room prior to the beginning of the formal session.
  4. Where are formal sessions held?

    Formal sessions of the board are usually held in the Bernhard Center on the main campus, but the board may designate an alternate location. The location is always publicized in advance. Board meeting details can be found in WMU News.
  5. How long may I speak?

    Individual speakers are limited to three minutes.
  6. May I give any of my public comment time to someone else?

    No. Only the registered individual may address the board. The time slot, or any leftover time, may not be given to anyone else.
  7. Will there be assistance in helping me keep track of my public comment time?

    Yes. When you have spoken for two and a half minutes, a yellow sign will be lifted indicating you have 30 seconds remaining. A red sign indicating your time is up will be lifted when your three minutes has passed.
  8. Does signing up guarantee me a spot to speak?

    No. The formal session provides up to 15 minutes (up to five individuals) for public comment on a pending action agenda item, and up to 30 minutes for general public comment.
  9. Is there another way to communicate with the board if there is not enough allotted time for me to speak at the formal session, or if I would rather not speak publicly?

    Yes. You may always provide written comments to the board if you provide 15 collated, stapled copies to the board secretary before the beginning of the formal session. Also, if you have submitted a timely written public comment request card on the day of the formal session and time has run out for public comment, you may write down your comments on the form provided in the back of the meeting room. If you give the form to the table staff, they will give your comments to the secretary to the board who will forward your written comments after the formal session to the board members.
  10. When during the formal session will I be allowed to speak?

    General public comment is allowed at the end of the meeting. Public comment on specific action agenda items usually occurs immediately before the board takes action on that agenda item.
  11. May I provide written materials to the board while I speak?

    Yes, provided that you have given them to the board secretary prior to the start of the formal session and have made at least 15 copies of the materials for distribution.
  12. Can I use a PowerPoint or other audio visual equipment during my presentation?

    No. No audio visual or PowerPoint slide presentations are allowed.
  13. What if I have more questions?

    Questions may be addressed to the secretary to the board:
    3050 Seibert Administration Building
    Kalamazoo MI 49008-5219
    (269) 387-2360