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Trustees consider changes to public comment rules

July 6, 2006

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's Board of Trustees is expected to act at the beginning of its next public meeting Friday, July 14, to change the board's public comment rules in a way that will allow members of the University community and local citizens more opportunities to provide input to trustees during the board's formal sessions.

Proposed changes to the board's public comment rules have been developed and will be voted on at the beginning of the board's July 14 meeting. If approved, the new rules will go into effect immediately and would apply to comment at the July 14 formal session and at future public sessions.

In order to allow more individuals the opportunity to speak to the board, individual comments, under the new rules, will be limited to a maximum of three minutes per person. The new rules also specify that the board will hear up to 15 minutes of public comment before the board votes on a discussion action agenda item. Thus, comments from up to five people, each speaking for a maximum of three minutes, will be heard before most votes on discussion action agenda items.

To better process the requests of all individuals who wish to address the Board, those who wish to speak at a formal public session need to register their intent in writing and are encouraged to do so early at the Board of Trustees' office in the Seibert Administration Building. However, public comment request forms may also be filled out on meeting days at the board meeting location prior to the start of the formal public session. The public comment time slots for each action item will be reserved on a first-come, first-registered basis.

The new guidelines also spell out a mechanism for providing written feedback to the board if all public comment slots are taken, and they detail requirements for providing the board with printed material to accompany public comment. A complete draft of the new rules the board is expected to adopt as well as answers to frequently asked questions about the board's proposed amended public comment rules are available at www.wmich.edu/bot.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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