Association of Community College Trustees holds conventions in big cites which McHenry County College Trustees attend.
It also answers questions like
My board is considering televising our meetings- what should we take into account before making this decision?
Before taking a look at parts of the answer, it might be appropriate to remember that community colleges are public government bodies, supposedly responsible to voters and taxpayers.
Here are some parts of the answer:
Broadcasting board meetings has advantages and drawbacks. In the absence of state laws that require broadcasting, the board should carefully consider the pros and cons of broadcasting meetings before making a voluntary commitment.
The Pros of Broadcasting
On the positive side, the broadcasting of meetings can increase transparency and make the business of the board more accessible to those who are unable to attend meetings. Not everyone has the luxury or flexibility to attend meetings during the day or evening….
Cons and Considerations
The board should remember that there is a certain level of trust, even dignity, inherent within traditional board meetings. Broadcasting meetings can potentially alter this general atmosphere and cause changes in behavior. A board meeting is a business meeting of the board meant to carry out the governing body’s fiduciary and stewardship responsibilities. There is sanctity to the proceedings, and trustees should strive to preserve this spirit of respect, informative debate, and trust during meetings which are broadcast.The risk of damaging this atmosphere is enough to dissuade many boards and presidents from broadcasting….
College of DuPage (Illinois) President Robert Breuder, for example, shared that “After 34 years as President, I would lean in favor of not broadcasting board meetings,” in part because “The challenging behavior exhibited by some meeting participants can be exacerbated by broadcasting.”
The trade association then goes on to warn of “intimidation and grandstanding by trustees, staff, or even members of the community.”
Then there is this warning:
“While broadcasting meetings can potentially showcase the positive work of the college and the board, they also could cause problems if false claims are made during meetings or if comments are taken out of context.
“Footage from a board meeting can ‘go viral’ on the internet, or the board can appear to be a ‘rubber stamp’ if there is no background provided to viewers on the board’s actions.
“The board should proactively address these potential pitfalls by establishing new training for board members and college staff.
“This training should cover how to handle controversial statements made by trustees, staff, or members of the public during a meeting which is broadcast and review board meeting protocols and procedures to ensure that meetings can be understood by viewers unacquainted with the board’s practices.”
And, finally, there are these concluding remarks:
“In making the decision whether to broadcast board meetings, the board should remain focused on community expectations.
“It must ask itself whether its broadcast meetings would meet these expectations and ultimately benefit the local community, or whether the risk of broadcasting is greater than the potential benefits.
“By doing so, the board can make an informed decision on whether broadcasting its meetings is the right step for the college.”
There does seem to be more emphasis on the “cons” than the “pros.”