The Florida International University Board of Trustees (the “Board”) is established as a public body corporate, with all powers of a public body corporate as provided by Florida law, acting as an instrumentality of the state, pursuant to s. 768.28, Florida Statutes, for purposes of sovereign immunity. It shall serve as the governing body of the Florida International University (the "University") and perform all duties prescribed by law and by the Board of Governors.
The Board is the final institutional authority and delegates the conduct of administration and management of the University to the President. The Board entrusts the functions of teaching and research through the President to the Faculty. The Board encourages student, faculty and staff participation in decision-making within the limits of attainable effectiveness.
To establish a governance structure for the conduct of Board business, the Board establishes these Bylaws. These Bylaws are intended to encourage efficiencies and to facilitate Board business. These Bylaws, University Regulations and Board approved-policies take precedence over all other policies of the University.
Section 2.1 Corporate Name
The Board of Trustees is a public body corporate called "The Florida International University Board of Trustees," with all the powers of a public body corporate under the laws of the State of Florida.
Section 2.2 Composition
The Board shall be composed of thirteen Trustees, six of whom shall be appointed by the Governor of the State of Florida and five of whom shall be appointed by the Board of Governors of the State University System of Florida, and all of whom are subject to confirmation by the Senate of the State of Florida. The other two members shall be the Chair of the Faculty Senate and the President of the University’s Student Government Association and they shall also serve as voting Trustees during their terms of office.
Section 2.3 Powers and Duties
The Board shall serve as the governing body of the University. The Board shall have the authority to carry out all lawful functions permitted by these Bylaws, by regulations and policies of the Board of Governors and by law. The Board’s responsibilities include:
- Determining the mission of the University and ensuring that the mission is kept current and aligned with public purposes.
- Charging the President with the task of periodically leading a strategic planning process consistent with the Board’s strategic direction for the University; approving the strategic plan, and monitoring its effectiveness.
- Selecting, supporting, and evaluating the President and reviewing the President’s compensation.
- Monitoring and overseeing the University’s fiscal integrity; overseeing the University’s financial resources and other assets; and preserving and protecting the University’s assets for posterity,
- Protecting, through monitoring and oversight, within the context of faculty shared governance, the educational quality of the University and its academic programs; and preserving and protecting the University’s autonomy, academic freedom, and the public purposes of higher education.
- Engaging regularly, in concert with senior administration, with the University’s major constituencies.
- Approving University regulations and Board policies.
- Conducting the Board’s business in a business-like fashion and with appropriate transparency, adhering to the highest ethical standards and complying with applicable open-meeting and public-record laws.
- Keeping Board governance policies and practices current.
- Periodically assessing the performance of the Board, its committees, and its members.
In fulfilling their Board duties, Trustees may rely on information, opinions, and reports provided by University administrators to the Board, so long as the Trustees reasonably and in good faith believe them to be reliable and competent.
The Board may delegate and provide for the further delegation of any and all powers and duties, subject to the limitations set forth in law.
Section 2.4 Corporate Seal
The University shall have a seal on which shall be inscribed “Florida International University”. The seal shall be used only in connection with the transaction of business of the Board and of the University. The Corporate Secretary may affix the seal on any document signed on behalf of the University. The seal of the University shall be consistent with the following form and design.
Section 3.1 Term of Office
Trustees shall serve for staggered 5-year terms, as provided by law and may be reappointed for subsequent terms, except for the faculty and student representatives who shall serve for the duration of the term of their respective elected offices.
Section 3.2 Attendance
All Trustees are expected to attend board and committee meetings. If a Trustee has three consecutive unexcused absences in any fiscal year, the Chair shall, pursuant to and in accordance with Section 1001.71, Florida Statutes, notify the Governor or the Board of Governors, as applicable, in writing, of such unexcused absences, which may be grounds for removal of such Trustee by the Governor or the Board of Governors, as applicable.
Section 3.3 Vacancies
Vacancies shall be filled by the appointing authority, subject to confirmation by the Senate of the State of Florida.
Section 3.4 Compensation
Trustees shall serve without compensation but may be reimbursed for travel and per diem expenses in accordance with state law.
Section 3.5 Emeritus Status
The Board shall have the special member categories of Chairperson Emeritus and Trustee Emeritus for honorary purposes to recognize past Chairpersons and Trustees who have provided distinguished and extraordinary service and contributions to the University and are no longer serving in that capacity. Trustees shall be elected by a two-thirds vote of the Board for either of the above defined designations. Trustees receiving the Chairperson or Trustee Emeritus title may attend meetings of the Board but shall not have the right to vote and shall not be considered in constituting a quorum. This provision shall only be applicable to Trustees whose Board service commenced prior to June 30, 2014; thereafter, this provision shall no longer be effective.
Officers of the Board
Section 4.1 Officers
The officers of the Board are the Board Chair, Board Vice Chair, and Corporate Secretary.
Section 4.2 Selection / Term of Officers
The Board Chair and Vice Chair shall each serve for a two year term. The Board shall select, by majority vote, the Board Chair and Board Vice Chair from the appointed members at the last regularly scheduled meeting of the fiscal year and the Board Chair and Vice Chair will serve for the two fiscal years following thereafter. The Chair and Vice Chair shall be eligible for reselection for one additional consecutive two-year term. Normally, to be eligible for election as Chair or Vice Chair, a member of the Board shall have at least two years remaining on his or her term of appointment. Any additional term of office must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the Board. The Corporate Secretary does not have a specific term and serves the Board as described in Section 4.6 and other sections of these Bylaws.
Section 4.3 Vacancies in Office of Chair or Vice Chair
In the event of a vacancy in the Chair and/or Vice Chair positions, an election will be held as soon as practical after the vacancy occurs to select a member of the Board, by a majority vote, to the applicable vacant position(s). The newly selected officer(s) will serve terms as specified in Section 4.2 above. This may result in the Board Chair and Vice Chair terms of office not running concurrently. While the Vice Chair shall be the presumptive successor to the Chair when a vacancy occurs, the Chair shall be selected as specified in Section 4.2 above.
Section 4.4 Duties of Chair
The duties of the Board Chair include presiding at all meetings of the Board, calling special or emergency meetings of the Board when necessary, appointing and removing Committee Chairs and Committee members, establishing and disbanding ad hoc committees, task forces or working groups of the Board, attesting to the actions of the Board, serving as the spokesperson for the Board and fulfilling other duties as assigned by the Board. The Board Chair shall also notify the Governor or Board of Governors, as applicable, of a Trustee’s record of unexcused absences as required by Section 1001.71, Florida Statutes and Section 3.2 of these Bylaws.
Section 4.5 Duties of Vice Chair
The Board Vice Chair shall act as Board Chair during the absence or disability of the Board Chair and during any temporary period of vacancy before election of a new Board Chair pursuant to Section 4.3 above.
Section 4.6 Duties of Corporate Secretary
The Chair, jointly with the University President, shall select a University employee to serve as the Corporate Secretary. The duties of the Corporate Secretary include giving notice of all meetings of the Board, compiling the supporting documents for the meetings of the Board in consultation with the Board Chair, recording and maintaining detailed minutes of any Board meeting, including the vote history and attendance of each Trustee, executing or attesting to all documents that have been executed by the Board, and affixing the University’s seal to any document signed on behalf of the University. Minutes of each Board meeting shall be prominently posted on the University’s website within two weeks after such Board meeting.
Duties of the President
The University President, as the Chief Executive Officer to the Board of Trustees, shall be responsible to the Board of Trustees for all operations of the University and for setting the agenda for meetings of the Board of Trustees jointly with the Board Chair. Without limiting the foregoing, the University President shall serve as the principal liaison officer and official contact between the Board and the faculty, staff and students of the University. The University President shall be responsible for the operation and administration of the University, including efficient and effective budget and program administration, leading the University to accomplish its education missions and goals, monitoring educational and financial performance, consulting with the Board in a timely manner on matters appropriate to its policy-making and fiduciary functions, and serving as the University’s key spokesperson. The President shall have the authority to execute all documents and take all actions on behalf of the University and the Board consistent with law, Board regulations, policies and delegations, these Bylaws and the best interests of the University.
Section 6.1 Applicability of Sunshine Law
All meetings of the Board and its Committees shall be open to the public at all times unless the matter being discussed or acted upon falls within the provisions of law allowing closed meetings. No formal action shall be considered binding except as taken or made in accordance with Section 286.011, Florida Statutes.
Section 6.2 Regular Meetings
Meetings of the Board shall be held as needed, with a minimum of four (4) regular meetings per year. Meetings may be held at the Florida International University or other locations as deemed necessary and appropriate by the Board, consistent with Section 286.011, Florida Statutes. The schedule of meetings is to be available on the Board’s website.
Section 6.3 Special Meetings
The Board may hold special meetings, including hearings and workshops, at times and places designated by the Board Chair. The Corporate Secretary shall send written notice of such special meetings to all Trustees, along with a statement of the purpose of the meeting, at least 48 hours in advance. Only matters included in the Chair’s call of the meeting may be considered at a special meeting except a new matter may be added by an affirmative vote of a majority of the Trustees at the meeting.
Section 6.4 Emergency Meetings
Meetings of the Board may be held for the purpose of acting on emergency matters affecting the university or public health, safety, or welfare. Notice of the time, date, place and purpose of an emergency meeting will be posted on the Board’s website and forwarded to a major newspaper of general circulation in the area where the meeting will take place. The media may also be notified through a press release issued by the Media Relations Office.
Section 6.5 Notice of Meetings
Reasonable prior notice of all meetings shall be provided in accordance with Florida law. Notice of regular and special meetings will be provided by posting the notice and agenda on the Board’s website and faxing such notice and agenda to a major newspaper of general circulation. Notice of emergency meetings shall be provided as described above.
Section 6.6 Telephonic Meetings
At the discretion of the Board Chair, Full Board and Committee meetings may be held through teleconferencing or other electronic means. Additionally, while Trustees are expected to attend most in person Board and Committee meetings, the Board Chair may give permission for participants to participate through teleconferencing or other electronic means when this is deemed necessary.
Section 6.7 Quorum
A majority of the members of the Board must be present to constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
Section 6.8 Voting
Unless otherwise provided in these Bylaws, the decision of the majority of the Trustees in attendance and voting on the question shall prevail. No Trustee present at a Board meeting or Committee meeting may abstain from voting except for those circumstances when a Trustee has a specific recognized conflict of interest under Florida law. Trustees are prohibited from voting on any matters which the Trustee knows would inure to his or her individual special private gain or loss. A Trustee is encouraged to abstain from voting when a Trustee has any other conflict of interest recognized under the Florida Code of Ethics but Trustees are permitted by Florida law to vote when such a conflict of interest is present so long as the Trustee discloses the conflict of interest. Trustees with voting conflicts are required to inform the Board in the manner prescribed by the Florida Commission on Ethics. Voting by proxy or by mail is not permitted.
Section 6.9 Meeting Agendas
The Corporate Secretary will provide a copy of the meeting agendas and supporting documentation to each member of the Board for regular meetings and, when possible, special meetings, at least seven (7) calendar days prior to the meeting, and for emergency meetings and all other special meetings, as soon as practical after the meetings are scheduled. Failure to provide an agenda by the time specified in these Bylaws will not affect the ability of the Board to vote on any items. If additional items or supporting documentation become available prior to the meeting, a supplemental agenda will be provided. Agendas shall list items in the order they are to be considered. Items may be considered out of their stated order at the discretion of the Chair. The Board may also consider and vote on items not included in the published agenda.
Normally, agenda items that come before the Board have been considered and recommended by a Committee of the Board. However, the Chair may, in consultation with the President, allow an item to be presented to the full Board without prior consideration by a Board committee when circumstances warrant.
Section 6.10 Consent Agenda and Action Items
At regular meetings of the Board, the Board shall vote on matters appearing on the Consent Agenda in its entirety, unless an individual Trustee requests that a separate vote be taken on a particular item. A separate vote shall be taken on each item appearing as an Action Item on the Agenda.
Section 6.11 Rules of Procedure
Roberts Rules of Order, newly revised, will be followed in conducting meetings of the Board, unless otherwise provided by the Board Bylaws. The Chair shall resolve questions regarding interpretations under these Bylaws or Roberts Rules.
Section 6.12 Minutes
Minutes of the meetings of the Board shall be kept by the Corporate Secretary, who shall cause them to be preserved and who shall transmit copies to the members of the Board. All lengthy reports shall be referred to in the minutes and shall be kept on file as part of the University records, but such reports need not be attached to the minutes except when so ordered by the Board.
Section 7.1 Committees
Except for the Governance Committee, the membership of which is specified in these Bylaws, the Board Chair, in consultation with the President, shall appoint members of Committees, their Chairs, and Vice Chairs based upon their expertise in matters relating to that Committee and may also remove any members. All Committees shall have no fewer than three (3) members. Unless specifically delegated or as otherwise provided in these Bylaws, authority to act on all matters is reserved exclusively to the Board and the duty of each Committee shall be to consider and to make recommendations to the Board upon matters referred to it. Each Committee shall have a written statement of purpose and primary responsibilities, or charter, as approved by the Board. The chairs of all Committees shall perform their duties and shall have the responsibility and authority to place matters on the Board’s agenda, with approval of the Board chair.
Section 7.2 Standing Committees
The following Committees shall be standing Committees of the Board until dissolved by the Board:
The Academic Policy and Student Affairs Committee shall be responsible for oversight of all policies relating to the academic and student affairs, including athletics and health affairs and clinical activities, of the University. It shall assist the Board in its oversight responsibilities relating to aspects of student life and student conduct. It shall review the infrastructure and resources necessary to deliver the academic and student life programs and for the accreditation of the University and professional programs. It shall be responsible for reviewing and considering policies relating to new and existing degree programs, instruction and research. It shall review and consider policies relating to the recruitment and retention of faculty members, including tenure, academic freedom and academic responsibility, codes of conduct and appropriate penalties for violations of University regulations pertaining to academic dishonesty, and student admissions, and make recommendations to the Board on these and other matters referred to it by the Board.
The External Relations Committee is responsible for reviewing and recommending to the Board policies relating to local, state and federal legislation; working to identify all major local, state and federal activities affecting the University; reporting to the Board recommended actions which will further the University's mission; reviewing and recommending to the Board policies affecting communications with the media and with the public, including alumni of the institution; and reviewing and considering programs that advance the University's reputation and further the University's teaching, research, and service missions in the local, state, national, and international communities.
The Finance and Facilities Committee is responsible, for providing review, policy guidance and strategic oversight of the university's financial matters, financial reporting statements, campus master planning activities and other real estate type activities for both the University and its direct support organizations (“DSO”). This includes receiving and reviewing information regarding the fiscal operations of the University and reviewing and, when appropriate, recommending to the Board for its approval: the University’s annual operating and capital outlay budgets; the University’s investment policy; the University’s Capital Improvement Program list for funding by the Legislature, including the Public Education Capital Outlay list; debt issuances; the University’s master plan(s); honorary and donative namings of University facilities; and regulations and Board policies pertaining to the financial resources and other assets of the University.
The Audit and Compliance Committee is responsible, in assisting the Florida International University Board of Trustees (“Board”) in discharging its oversight responsibilities, including but not limited to, reviewing procedures in place to assess and minimize significant risks, overseeing the quality and integrity of financial reporting practices (including the underlying system of internal controls, policies and procedures, regulatory compliance programs, and ethical code of conduct), and overseeing the overall audit process. This includes advising the Board on the adequacy of accounting procedures, systems, controls, and financial reporting in accordance with applicable laws and regulations; and overseeing and monitoring the University’s compliance program.
The Governance Committee is responsible for reviewing and making recommendations to the Board on various Board functions, including, periodically reviewing these Bylaws; evaluating the Board’s performance; overseeing governance of the University’s affiliated organizations; overseeing Presidential personnel matters, including the annual evaluation of the President; considering collective bargaining matters coming before the Board; and establishing regulations and Board policies regarding University governance. Furthermore, the Governance Committee shall have and may exercise all powers and authority of the Board on an as needed basis between regular Board meetings for time-sensitive matters, subject only to such restrictions or limitations as the Trustees may from time to time specify, except that the following matters shall be reserved to the full Board for approval (i) Board officer selection, (ii) changes in the mission and purposes of the institution, (iii) presidential selection and termination, (iv) amendments to the Bylaws, (v) debt issuances, (vi) sale or other disposition of real property, (vii) the University’s annual operating and capital outlay budgets and the University’s Capital Improvement Program list for funding by the Legislature, including the Public Education Capital Outlay list, and (viii) any other matter required by law or Board of Governors’ regulation to be approved by the full Board. All actions taken by the Governance Committee pursuant to this authority shall be reported at the next meeting of the full Board, or when deemed sufficiently important by the Board Chair and the University President, such actions shall be reported to the Trustees within thirty (30) days after such action is taken, or at a meeting of the Trustees if a meeting is held within that period of time. The Governance Committee shall be comprised of the Board Chair, Board Vice Chair and all Committee Chairs.
The Strategic Planning Committee is responsible for providing strategic direction to the University. It shall provide oversight responsibilities for the development of the University’s strategic plan and the subsequent monitoring of progress toward goals, including ensuring alignment of strategic planning across the University to include all of its affiliated entities. The Committee duties include approving and supporting the implementation of the University’s strategic plan and reviewing and, when applicable, approving, performance targets, performance metrics, and associated reports to the Board of Governors.
Section 7.3 Ad-Hoc Committees
Ad-Hoc Committees shall be appointed by the Board Chair with such powers and duties and period of service as the Board Chair may determine, provided that no ad-hoc committee shall be created to act upon any matter appropriate to be acted upon by a standing committee. The Chair of any ad-hoc committee shall be appointed by the Board Chair and shall perform his/her duties in consultation with the University President.
Section 7.4 Quorum
A majority of the regular committee members shall constitute a quorum for all committee meetings. A quorum having been established, no business shall be transacted without a majority vote of all committee members present.
Amendment or Suspension of Bylaws
Section 8.1 Bylaw Amendments
These Bylaws may be altered, amended or repealed at any regular meeting of the Board by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of all members of the Board, when notice of the proposed amendment or repeal is provided in the meeting notice.
Section 8.2 Suspension of Bylaw Provisions
Any provision of these Bylaws may be suspended in connection with the consideration of a matter before the Board by an affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds (2/3) of the members of the Board.
Appearances Before The Board
Section 9.1 Registration Procedures
Individuals or group representatives who desire to be heard on a proposition before the Board shall register in advance of the meeting by completing a public comment form (“Form”) specifying the agenda item or specific matter on which they wish to be heard. The Form shall be available at the Board of Trustees Office at 11200 S.W. 8 Street, PC 548, Miami, Florida 33199, and must be submitted to the Board of Trustees Office no later than 11:00 a.m. on the business day preceding the Board meeting.
The Corporate Secretary, in consultation with the General Counsel, shall determine whether the speaker is entitled to be heard in accordance with applicable law. Each Trustee will be provided with an opportunity to review the list of individuals who are on the agenda to appear before the Board, as well as the names of any who were not placed on the agenda.
Only registered persons who timely submit a Form will be called on to speak during the public comment period of a Board meeting. Any person who has not timely registered to speak may request approval to be heard by submitting a Form to staff at a registration table at the Board meeting location no later than twenty (20) minutes prior to the scheduled commencement of the Board meeting. Persons submitting any such untimely requests shall be required to show good cause as to why the person was unable to timely submit the Form in accordance with these procedures. Any such untimely requests shall be considered at the sole discretion of the Chair.
Section 9.2 Time Limits
As a general matter, speakers shall be allotted a maximum of two (2) minutes to be heard on a proposition before the Board. At the discretion of the Chair, time limits may be extended or shortened depending on the number of speakers requesting to be heard. Organizations or groups wishing to address the Board on a proposition shall designate one representative to speak on their behalf, to ensure the orderly presentation of information to the Board. If a speaker has requested to speak on more than one agenda item before the Board, the maximum time that will be allotted to any individual speaker during a Board meeting is five (5) minutes, regardless of the number of agenda items or topics to be addressed.
Section 9.3 Decorum
In order to proceed with the essential business of the Board in an orderly manner, the following rules of decorum shall be strictly observed:
- Persons scheduled to speak shall be called by the Chair at the appropriate time during the meeting. Any person not immediately appearing at the podium when called upon by the Chair shall waive the right to any further participation at the Board meeting. Each speaker shall state for the record his or her name and the organization or group represented, if any. Substitutions for scheduled speakers will not be allowed except in exceptional circumstances as determined by the Chair.
- Each speaker’s remarks must be directed to the Chair or the Board as a whole and not to individual board members.
- Speakers shall confine their comments solely to the proposition before the Board they have asked to speak on. Speakers may not use any form of profanity or loud abusive comments. The Chair may notify and warn speakers that their comments have gone beyond the subject matter for which they had signed up to address. The Chair may turn off the microphone or recess the meeting if a speaker persists in addressing irrelevant topics or engaging in inappropriate comments. The Chair has the authority after one warning to order the removal of the speaker from the meetings.
- Speakers may not refuse to yield the podium when the Chair has advised that their time is up.
- No clapping, applauding, heckling, shouting comments from the audience, or verbal outbursts in support or opposition to a speaker or his/her remarks shall be permitted. No signs or placards shall be allowed in the Board meeting. Persons exiting the Board meeting shall do so quietly.
- Personal cellular telephone conversations shall be prohibited during Board meetings. Ringers must be set to silent mode to avoid disruption of proceedings.
Any individual or group representative who attempts to disrupt a Board meeting will be subject to appropriate action pursuant to law.
Statement of Board Policy on Academic Freedom
Florida International University is dedicated to the transmission and advancement of knowledge and understanding. Academic freedom is essential to the achievement of these purposes. The University therefore supports and encourages freedom of inquiry for faculty members and students, to the end that they may responsibly pursue these goals through teaching, learning, research, discussion and publication, free from internal or external restraints that would unreasonably restrict their academic endeavors. The University shall protect faculty and students in their responsible exercise of freedom to teach and learn.
Section 11.1 Conflict of Interest Policy
Trustees stand in a fiduciary relationship to the University. Therefore, Trustees shall act in good faith, with due regard to the interests of the University, and shall comply with the fiduciary principles and law set forth in the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees, Chapter 112, Part III, Florida Statutes. The Board shall adopt a written conflict of interest policy, which shall be reviewed periodically and revised as necessary.
Section 11.2 Limitation of Liability and Indemnification
The Board shall be a corporation primarily acting as an instrumentality of the state pursuant to Section 768.28, Florida Statutes, for purposes of sovereign immunity. The University shall, to the extent legally permissible, indemnify, defend and hold harmless each of its Trustees, against all liabilities and expenses incurred in the connection with the disposition or defense of any action, suit or other proceeding, whether civil or criminal, in which such person may be involved by reason of University service, except with respect to any matter in which such person shall have been adjudicated in any proceeding not to have acted in good faith; and further provided that no settlement shall be entered into without the prior consultation and approval of a duly authorized representative of the Board.
Section 11.3 Non-Discrimination
The University does not discriminate in its educational and employment policies against any person on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, or on any other basis proscribed by federal, state or local law.
Adopted 13 January 2003; Amended 12 March 2003; Amended 22 November 2004; Amended 19 September 2005; Amended 28 June 2007; Amended 29 February 2008; Amended 31 March 2009; Amended 12 June 2009; Amended 20 February 2010; Amended 10 September 2013; Amended 10 September 2014; Amended 11 March 2016; Amended 1 December 2016; Amended 23 July 2020; Amended 6 December 2022.