Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Regents run from responsiveness & regularity

17. February 2006 • David Boyle
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The new guidelines for speaking at UM Regents’ meetings include,
”...When will I speak?
Public [comments] will begin five minutes after the regular business agenda has ended. The regular business agenda generally starts at 9:00 a.m. The meeting schedule is posted online on the Monday before the meeting. ...”
There used to be a regular time, recently 11 a.m., formerly 4 p.m., for public comments. Now the speaking time is totally in the air.
That is, commenters may now have to attend the entire meeting from the beginning, lest they miss the end of the meeting and their chance to speak. (Commenters can risk missing the first hour, say; but what if the meeting winds up faster than expected?)
How is this fair to various people? whether disabled people, or people with jobs, or people with lots of morning classes, or people with children to take care of, etc.?
Running from regular public-comment speaking times, and any criticism or “rebellion” the comments represent, is hardly reponsive to the public.
There seems little other reason for the time change, than to inconvenience public commenters, i.e., to make activism or criticism of the Regents and administration as difficult as possible.
(I did hear one well-placed source say the reason for the change was that “there was a long delay between the regular meeting and public comments” last time or something; but has that never happened before? Maybe having six transgender rights activists speak to them at meeting after meeting is beginning to wear the Board down; though not worn down enough to extend transgender rights, just enough to change the speaking rules…)

  1. Commenters may have to attend an entire meeting?! Those fascists! Burn the regent’s village!

    Seriously, doesn’t attending an entire meeting of those you wish to petition or critique sound a bit more respectful than showing up at five minutes to, spouting off, and then leaving? It not only makes sense from a scheduling and efficiency standpoint, but it looks to make commenters appear all the more deserving of attention.

    (I have heard one well-placed source say that in some cases students may have to attend entire classes from time to time in order to graduate. Also, people with jobs may have years and years of attending entire meetings in their future. Oh, the horror.)

       —FAA    Feb. 17 '06 - 01:30AM    #
  2. Heh

    How about having commenters prove they have read the Regents’ minutes for the last 50 years, and be tested on them? That “unwashed public” has to show some deference to their betters, huh? (heh)

    I hope students can attend entire classes, and workers can attend their own meetings; which they will better be able to do, without having to sit through hours of UM reports and personnel decisions with which they are not immediately concerned.

       —David Boyle    Feb. 17 '06 - 01:54AM    #
  3. Was that oh so bourgeois of me to suggest that it is okay for people to sit for an hour in order to be heard, D-BO?

    I once had to sit through hours of traffic cases in order to dispute a ticket… Get this – I was not immediately concerned with the judgments before mine. Where, oh where, was D-BO, with his editorial drivel, to defend the interests of the common man not having to wait an hour or two back then?

       —FAA    Feb. 17 '06 - 03:05AM    #
  4. You are confusing “drivel” with “driving”, i.e., traffic.

    Sorry I wasn’t around back then to help. Wasn’t aware you admired me so much (hah). Regents’ meetings can go hours, not just one hour. And commenters at Reg meetings are not accused of any crime, either, so should not be under any “penalty”of having to hang around for hours, especially when for years, they had a reliable time at which they could show up and be heard. “Go transgender activists!!”
       —David Boyle    Feb. 17 '06 - 04:29AM    #