COLLEGE OF DUPAGE (ECWd) –
A Request for Review of alleged Open Meetings Act violations by the College of DuPage Board of Trustees has been sent to the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor for their determination.
Read the complaint below:
Public Access Counselor:
Please consider this a Request for Review of alleged Open Meetings Act violations of the College of DuPage Board of Trustees.
Name of Public Body: College of DuPage Board of Trustees
Date of alleged violation: August 21, 2014
During the August 21, 2014 COD regular meeting, the Board President violated the OMA in the following ways:
1. The meeting notice and agenda stated start time was 7:00 p.m. but the meeting did not start until around 7:21 p.m. and inconvenienced the public that was in attendance giving the impression that there may have been a private meeting elsewhere prior to the actual meeting.
2. The Board approved the Agenda, but the President of the Board “modified” the agenda without approval and stopped public comment to conduct “board business”, then returned to public comment.
3. The Board’s own “Board Protocol” (established rules) states that public comment will be held prior to any board actions to give the public the chance to talk about it prior to any votes. The president made an immediate arbitrary decision, putting unestablished and unrecorded rules in place for public comments, even on the objections of fellow board members, and without taking a vote.
4. The Board’s policy and agenda places public speakers into “classes” such as: Students, Faculty, District Residents, and At Large. They are called to speak in that order and I believe it is an unreasonable and discriminatory policy. As evident on August 21, most of the speakers fell into the third and fourth class of speaker and wished to address what they felt was an illegal censure vote. The Board president decided to hear those speakers after the censure vote, contrary to their own Protocol.
The OMA clearly allows reasonable rules, but since the OMA constitutes the minimum requirements, any more stringent requirements similar to any approved COD policy must serve to give further notice to and enhance public access. Placing speaking into classes of people does neither of these.
5. The Board President, on advice of the board attorney, also made an immediate and arbitrary decision to not allow public speakers to display slides on the projector. The board has allowed this in other meetings, but I believe they saw the first slide (mugshot of the board president) and decided to disallow use of the projector. This is not in their policy, previous meetings have allowed it, and the projector system was used by regular speakers earlier in the meeting – so the capability was there and was operational.
The president did say that if the speaker would give them a copy to review prior to the next meeting then they would consider it. This is content based censorship.
6. The Board entered into closed session and the board forbid an elected trustee attendance in the closed session. This is not allowed according to the OMA – “the public body” means all of the elected board members, not just the ones they want to allow into the closed session. The board can go to closed session to exclude “the public” from a portion of a meeting under strict rules established in the OMA. It has already been established that student members of the board can attend closed sessions, it is unfathomable to think that an official elected to the board can be excluded.
Thanks for your consideration,