"Official meetings" of "public bodies" must be open to the public. This includes most university standing committees and some search committees (Tier I positions).
A "public body" at UNCP is:
An “official meeting” occurs when a majority of the public body attends the meeting, and the meeting is for the purposes of conducting hearings, deliberations, voting, or otherwise conducting public business. Official meetings may be conducted conference calls or other electronic means. Informal gatherings may not be used to evade the law.
Post notice: the public body must post advance notice of official meetings.
“Regular” meetings should be posted via a single posting at the first of the year or semester. If the schedule is changed, then the revised schedule shall be posted at least seven (7) calendar days before the day of the first meeting.
“Special” meetings must be posted at least 48 hours in advance (not including weekends or holidays).
“Emergency” meetings are to be limited to true emergencies, which should be “called because of generally unexpected circumstances that require immediate consideration by the public body.”
At UNCP, notices for public body meetings are posted on the bulletin boards in Human Resources (on the exterior bulletin board) and in the University Center (exterior bulletin board case on the west side of the Center). In addition, notices should be submitted to the University’s Public Communication Specialist (Scott Bigelow) for notification to media outlets.
Keep Minutes: the public body must keep accurate minutes of its meetings.
Make Motion to go into Closed Session: a public body may conduct a closed meeting to prevent disclosure of privileged or otherwise confidential information. During an open meeting session, the public body must make a motion to close the meeting and cite the law that provides for confidentiality. Some justifications for closed meetings include:
The record of the motion having been made and passed must appear in the minutes of the open session.
If a person disturbs or willfully interrupts an official meeting, s/he may be directed to leave by the presiding officer. If the person fails to leave, campus police should be called immediately. There is no statutory right for any member of the public or media to speak at the meetings normally associated with UNCP.
When a public body does not comply with open meetings law, a court may declare any action taken by the public body to be "null and void." In addition, the court may award attorney’s fees to the prevailing party(ies) when a meeting is challenged in court and may direct that individual member(s) of the public body pay for such costs personally if there is an intentional violation.
N.C. General Statutes on Open Meetings are at Chapter 143, Article 33C
Call the Office of the General Counsel at 910.521.6201 for assistance.
Updated: Tuesday, March 13, 2012
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PO Box 1510 Pembroke, NC 28372-1510 • 910.521.6000