Compliance with Open Meeting Act

Resolution Number
Assigned to
Standards and Practices Committee
Academic Senate
Status Report

The Executive Committee has received a legal opinion regarding whether or not the Senate is under the Open Meeting Act.  The legal opinion is consistent with the opinion of the Legal Counsel of the Chancellor's Office, which states that the Academic Senate is not subject to the Open Meeting Act.  While the Executive Committee is not required to abide by the Open Meeting Act, members have determined that they will conduct Executive Committee meetings by rules mirroring the Open Meeting Act and have adopted policies providing guidance for how the Executive Committee will conduct business.  

Whereas, On November 6, 2013 the then President of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges Beth Smith informed all members of the ASCCC Executive Board that all future meetings of the Executive Committee would be subject to the open meetings law Bagley- Keene Act;   

Whereas, On January 3, 2014, then Vice President David Morse, made a successful motion to accept an oral opinion that the Bagley Keene Act did not apply to the ASCCC and thereafter all Standing Committee meetings and meetings of the Officers of the ASCCC are, and continue to be, conducted without any obligation to comply with California open meetings law;

Whereas, The ASCCC delegate body passed on April 12, 2014, a resolution that “the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges work to revise its bylaws at Fall Session 2014 to incorporate the requirements of the Brown Act for all its Executive Committee meetings,” and

Whereas, The only written legal opinion as to whether California Open Meetings Law applies to the ASCCC opines that it does apply, and as a result considerable confusion over compliance requirements now exists;

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges request an Attorney General opinion (from the offices of Attorney General Kamala Harris) as to whether the ASCCC and its standing committees are legally obliged to comply with California Open Meetings Law (Bagley-Keene or Brown Act).

MSR:  Referred to the Executive Committee to clarify current practice and rationale applied to all levels of ASCCCC meetings and report back to the field by fall 2015.