Board Policy A-108.00
Board of Trustees Process

Board of Trustees Electronic Communications

The Board of Trustees (“Board”), and each of its sub-committees, is committed to complying with all applicable laws while executing its duties, including Michigan’s Open Meetings Act (“OMA”), Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), and Historical Commission Act (“HCA”). This policy is designed to provide an overview of the Board’s obligations under these laws as they might apply to electronic communications, which include but are not limited to emails, text messages, instant messages, blogs, and social media messages, whether created or used within or outside of Northwestern Michigan College’s information technology infrastructure. Each member of the Board is assigned a Northwestern Michigan College (“NMC” or “College”) email address, which he/she may use only for College-related business and communications. Use of a College email account for any other purpose is prohibited. The President and staff may develop and publish further guidelines as may be necessary to administer this policy effectively, and for the appropriate retention and disposal of electronic communications according to the College Record and Retention Schedule and the HCA.

Open Meetings Act: The OMA, with limited enumerated exceptions, requires the Board and its sub-committees to conduct meetings in a manner that is open to the public. According to the OMA, a “meeting” means the convening of the Board or its sub-committees at which a quorum is present for the purpose of deliberating toward or rendering a decision on a public policy. All deliberations and decisions of the Board and its sub-committees shall take place at a meeting open to the public. Neither the Board nor its sub-committees may circumvent these requirements by deliberating toward or rendering a decision on a public policy by exchanging or using electronic communications.

Freedom of Information Act: The FOIA, with enumerated exemptions, requires NMC and the Board to make available for copy or inspection by the public “public records,” which means writings prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by NMC or the Board in the performance of an official function, from the time it is created. This requirement applies equally to electronic communications prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by members of the Board or its sub-committees as part of their official functions, whether the electronic communications are created, received, or used within or outside of the College’s information technology infrastructure.

Historical Commission Act: Pursuant to the HCA, the College maintains a College Record and Retention Schedule (“Schedule”), which details which College records, including Board records, must be retained by the College and for how long. The Schedule applies equally to electronic communications of the members of the Board and its sub-committees, whether the electronic communications are created, received, or used within or outside of the College’s information technology infrastructure. Each member of the Board and its sub-committees shall familiarize him/her-self with the Schedule, its application, and requirements. A member of the Board or any of its sub-committees who, in the performance of a College function, creates, receives, or uses an electronic communication outside of the College’s information technology infrastructure shall immediately provide a copy of the electronic communication to the Executive Assistant for the President and Board of Trustees for keeping and retention in accordance with the Schedule and the HCA.

Any and all questions related to the administration of this policy should be directed to Executive Assistant for the President and Board of Trustees.

If any provisions(s) of this policy or set of bylaws conflicts with laws applicable to Northwestern Michigan College, including the Community College Act of 1966, the Freedom of Information Act, or the Open Meetings Act, as each may be amended from time to time, such laws shall control and supersede such provisions(s).

Adopted by the Northwestern Michigan College Board of Trustees March 23, 2015

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