AUSTIN – The University of Texas System Board of Regents Tuesday approved several amendments to Regents’ Rules and Regulations to enhance and clarify board procedure in the areas of governance, public information requests and executive sessions.
The amendments, which were proposed by Regents Chairman Paul Foster, were approved unanimously after significant discussion in open session by the entire board.
“There’s a need to bring more order and efficiency to our operations, and we want to ensure that we are following consistent best practices,” Foster said.
Amendments and revisions approved by regents include:
A statement that members of the board will at all times respect the role of the chancellor as the chief executive officer of the UT System and the management and reporting lines for UT System and institutional employees. (Regents’ Rule 10101)
A recognition that the chairman, as the board’s elected leader, serves as the day-to-day administrative leader of the board. (Regents’ Rule 10102)
Except for small requests for existing information, a request by an individual regent for information must now be submitted in writing by the requesting regent, and sent as required by current Rules to the chancellor, with a copy to the board chairman and general counsel to the board. The Rules revision requires that the requesting regent identify the need for the information requested and provide a requested deadline for response if the request is time-sensitive. (Regents’ Rule 10801)
The time for providing a requesting regent with an estimated date for delivery or production changes from 72 hours to five business days. In the rare circumstance when there are concerns about a regent’s request, the revision requires that the matter be discussed with the regent within five business days of receipt of the request. If concerns are unresolved following discussion with the regent, the matter will be presented to the board as quickly as possible, but no later than 21 days from the date of the receipt of the request. Upon vote, if any two or more regents support the request, the request will be filled without delay. (Regents’ Rule 10801)
The board recognizes the importance of the confidentiality of executive session discussions as authorized by the Texas Open Meetings Act. In compliance with state law, the board has determined that the only recording or notes that document executive session discussions may be a certified agenda or a recording prepared by Board Office staff. Other recordings, notes, or third party communications that document executive session discussions are not authorized. (Regents’ Rule 10401)
A regent may not publicly disclose information that is confidential, by law, unless disclosure is required by law or made pursuant to a vote of the board to waive an applicable privilege. (Regents’ Rule 10101)
A full list of amendments to Regents’ Rules is posted online.
Board members also discussed an amendment related to records retention and information management but asked for additional information before authorizing the change.
Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities, six health institutions and a fall 2013 enrollment of more than 213,000. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public universities in Texas. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $14.6 billion (FY 2014) including $3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With about 90,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.