Beginning September 2016, the University of Alaska Board of Regents will introduce a new format for public testimony. Instead of hearing from the public during board meetings, the regents will host a two-hour call-in audio testimony session one week in advance of the full board meetings, and an evening listening session following the first day of the full board meeting (Thursday), so the public and university community can both meet informally with regents and have an opportunity to share their comments and concerns.
The public testimony will air on KUAC-FM HD2 and stream on KUAC2 at kuac.org. The direct link to the live streaming is kuacii.streamon.fm. The audio will play on computers, laptops, mobile phones and most other handheld devices with internet capability.
In June, the regents approved changes to public testimony in response to requests from numerous constituents for an alternate time to address regents outside the window allotted during board meetings, and for using audio lines for those who cannot travel to appear in person. Supporting the effort to change procedures were resolutions from university governance groups—the Faculty Alliance, System Governance Council and USUAA—urging regents to expand testimony options, especially for rural residents, and save on the cost of having to travel to meetings to testify.
In addition, Board of Regents committee meetings are now being held one week prior to full board meetings. The call-in testimony is scheduled so members of the public can comment on actions under consideration by the committees and full board. There are four standing and one ad hoc committee: audit, academic and student affairs, planning and development, facilities/land management and Title IX.
“Our time will be well spent hearing public testimony prior to our meetings,” said Regent Mary Hughes.
Under the new arrangement, the board will host a two-hour public testimony via audio from 4-6 p.m. on either a Monday or Tuesday one week prior to full board meetings. For the first time, anyone can call in to a moderated line instead of having to be present at the meeting location to testify. The board chair will run the session in much the same way it was done for in-person testimony. Audio lines will allow for two-way conversations and regents asking questions of those who testify.
Members of the public wishing to testify can dial in by calling (866) 726-0757. Callers will hear hold music until contacted by the moderator and asked to provide their name and location. Once in queue, they will go back on hold until their turn to testify. The moderator will transfer each speaker in turn to the audio conference call with the regents. In order to hear other testimony, callers will need to be streaming the audio from KUAC using their computer or mobile device. More information on the process and tips for testifying are posted at alaska.edu/bor/public-testimony.
There also will be opportunity to address the regents during an evening forum from 5:30–7 p.m. the first night of each full board meeting. The evening timeframe provides an opportunity for university and community members to interact with regents in a more casual setting. Regents will be available for individual conversations during the first 30 minutes and then a microphone will be passed around the room for individuals who want the opportunity to share their issue or perspective with the regents and the attendees.
Regents expressed strong support for the new system. “As we look at budget considerations and program changes we want to hear from the university and the community,” said Board Chair Jo Heckman. “This will allow more input to the regents on Strategic Pathways and other important changes facing the university.”
2016–17 Board of Regents meeting and public testimony schedule
September 2016 – Board of Regents meeting in Juneau:
Audio/telephonic public testimony – Tuesday, Sept. 6, 4–6 p.m.
Committee meetings – Thursday and Friday, Sept. 8 and 9
Full board meeting – Thursday and Friday, Sept. 15 and 16
Evening forum – Thursday, Sept. 15, 5:30–7 p.m. at UAS Juneau
October/November 2016 – Board of Regents meeting in Fairbanks:
Audio/telephonic public testimony – Monday, Oct. 31, 4–6 p.m.
Committee meetings – Thursday and Friday, Nov. 3–4
Full board meeting – Thursday and Friday, Nov. 10–11
Evening forum – Thursday, Nov. 10, 5:30–7 p.m. at UAF Fairbanks
February/March 2017 – Board of Regents meeting in Anchorage:
Audio/telephonic public testimony – Tuesday, Feb. 21, 4–6 p.m.
Committee meetings – Thursday and Friday, Feb. 23 and 24
Full board meeting – Thursday and Friday, March 2 and 3
Evening forum – Thursday, March 2, 5:30–7 p.m. at UAA Anchorage
May/June 2017 – Board of Regents meeting in Fairbanks:
Audio/telephonic public testimony – Monday, May 22, 4–6 p.m.
Committee meetings – Thursday and Friday, May 25 and 26
Full board meeting – Thursday and Friday, June 1 and 2
Evening forum – Thursday, June 1, 5:30–7 p.m. at UAF Fairbanks
September 2017 – Board of Regents meeting in Juneau:
Audio/telephonic public testimony – Tuesday, Sept. 5, 4–6 p.m.
Committee meetings – Thursday and Friday, Sept. 7 and 8
Full board meeting – Thursday and Friday, Sept. 14 and 15
Evening forum – Thursday, Sept. 14, 5:30–7 p.m. at UAS Juneau
October/November 2017 Board of Regents meeting in Anchorage:
Audio/telephonic public testimony – Monday, Oct. 30, 4–6 p.m.
Committee meetings – Thursday and Friday, Nov. 2 and 3
Full board meeting – Thursday and Friday, Nov. 9 and 10
Evening forum – Thursday, Nov. 9, 5:30–7 p.m. at UAA Anchorage
Agendas for committee and full board meetings will be posted at least one week prior to meetings at: http://www.alaska.edu/bor/agendas/