State regents next week will consider revisions to a board policy aimed at encouraging respectful public conduct at board meetings.
The board will vote on the additions at a meeting Wednesday in West Des Moines. The meeting agenda was released Thursday.
The revisions are a direct response to several protests at board meetings in recent months, a board office staffer said, putting existing practices regarding protesters into policy. Most notably, dozens of members of the group Iowa Citizen’s for Community Improvement disrupted the August meeting several times with yelling, and some of the protesters were removed by campus police.
The revision adds a new subsection to the board’s policy about proper procedures for conducting meetings. The addition addresses public attendance, noting that members of the public are welcome to attend the open portions of board meetings, and that members of the audience are expected to be respectful and refrain from behavior that interferes with the meeting.
“Disruptive behavior that interferes with the conduct of the meeting or is intended to threaten or intimidate members of the board or those in attendance at the meeting will not be tolerated. Individuals who engage in disruptive behavior will be removed from the meeting,” the addition states.
The revision also includes rules for protesters holding signs, placards or other displays. Those are permitted “at the discretion of the president of the board,” and for safety reasons, signs shall not be mounted on sticks.