The University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents (BOR) was one of the first state boards to hold its monthly meetings via video conference following Gov. Igeʻs March 16 proclamation. The emergency order allows public meetings to be conducted electronically because of the COVID19 pandemic.
“It is important the board continues to conduct business and keep our university moving forward, especially during a crisis.” said BOR Chair Ben Kudo. “Now more than ever, the state needs the university to continue to fulfill its mission of providing quality, affordable higher education while also playing a role in Hawaiʻiʻs recovery from the pandemic.”
The board started holding its monthly meetings “virtually” in March to practice safe social distancing while ensuring the business of the 10-campus system continues.
The BOR normally meets in person each month, rotating between campuses. At the March meeting, seven of 12 regents met utilizing a video conference platform. The April meeting was held with Kudo, UH President David Lassner and a few staff in a UH Mānoa meeting room with the remaining regents and university administrators participating remotely.
For the first time, meetings were accessible to the public through a live video stream. The BOR recognized the impact of the stay-at-home orders on public participation and in response, an online testimony form was created to provide the public with a simple way to submit comments. Nearly 30 individuals submitted testimony for the April 16 meeting using the new online testimony submittal form.
The university has been a leader in this area and was a contributor to the Office of Information Practices Tips for Holding a Virtual Public Meeting (PDF), in addition to serving as an example and providing guidance to other agencies.