Faculty and Staff Handbook

24th Edition, 2015 Version

Chapter VII: UWS and UWRF Policies

7.11 Open Meeting Law

Wisconsin has an open meeting law which is applicable to formal meetings and to official departmental meetings. The provisions of the "Open Meetings of Governmental Bodies" are contained in Chapter 19 §§19.81-19.98 of the Wisconsin Statutes. However, departments and their sub-units in any University of Wisconsin institution or campus are exempt from certain provisions dealing with public notice and are required only to provide meeting notices which are likely to apprise interested persons and news media who have filed written requests for such notice. Closed sessions are permitted under certain circumstances involving personnel matters, and details of these have been distributed to the Deans and department chairs.

It is particularly important to note §19.85(1)(b) which states that a meeting may be closed if it is:

Considering dismissal, demotion, licensing or discipline of any public employee or person licensed by a board or commission or the investigation of charges against such person, or considering the grant or denial of tenure for a university faculty member, and the taking of formal action on any such matter; provided that the faculty member or other public employee or person licensed is given actual notice of any evidentiary hearing which may be held prior to final action being taken and of any meeting at which final action may be taken. The notice shall contain a statement that the person has the right to demand that the evidentiary hearing or meeting be held in open session.