According to the Michigan Court of Appeals, informal meetings of the University of Michigan Board of Regents do not violate the state’s Open Meetings Act. The unanimous decision, in Detroit Free Press v. University of Michigan Regents (COA docket No. 328182), upheld a finding by the Court of Claims that the constitutional provision giving the universities autonomy, and requiring open meetings, does not create a requirement that the informal meetings be conducted openly.
Judge Amy Ronayne Krause, joined by Judge David Sawyer and Judge William Murphy, held that the Constitution stipulates that “formal sessions” of the governing boards of Michigan’s universities must be open to the public. The court also pointed out that the Supreme Court has held that formal sessions of a governing board do not include all sessions of the board, and informal, informational sessions – the meetings held before the formal meetings of the board – are not included in the Constitution’s definition.