Section 4. (a) The board of higher education, hereinafter referred to in this chapter as the council or the board, shall be composed of 13 voting members, consisting of the secretary of education, ex officio, or her designee, 9 members appointed by the governor reflecting regional geographic representation, and 3 members chosen to represent public institutions of higher education. Of the appointed members, at least 1 shall be a representative of organized labor, at least 1 shall be a representative of the business community, and 1 shall be a member whom the governor shall choose from among not more than 3 full-time undergraduate students who shall be nominated, and who are currently enrolled in a public institution set forth in section 5. Nominated students shall have maintained satisfactory academic progress as determined by the policy of the institution at which such student is enrolled. Nominations shall be submitted by student members of the board of trustees for each such institution who, for the purpose of this section, shall be referred to as the student advisory committee. Such nominations may include, but not be limited to, students elected as trustees in accordance with the provisions of section 21. Of the 3 members chosen to represent public institutions of higher education, 1 shall be a member of the board of trustees of the University of Massachusetts as voted by the board of trustees for the university, 1 shall be a member of a board of trustees of a state university chosen by vote of the chairs of the boards of trustees of each of the state universities, and 1 shall be a member of a board of trustees of a community college chosen by vote of the chairs of the boards of trustees of each of the community colleges.
(b) Three of the board members appointed by the governor shall be appointed for terms that are coterminous with that of the governor. The secretary shall serve on the board while she holds the position of secretary. The remaining members of the board shall be appointed to serve 5-year terms, except that the undergraduate student members shall be appointed annually to serve terms of 1 year commencing initially upon appointment by the governor and expiring on April 30 and each year thereafter commencing on May 1 and expiring on April 30 as long as the member remains a full-time undergraduate throughout his 1-year term. Within 3 consecutive years, the student appointee shall in the first year be a student attending the state university, in the second year, shall be a student attending a community college and, in the third year, shall be a student attending a state college. This cycle shall repeat. Each of the student government associations at each of the public institutions may submit to the student advisory committee an individual nominated to be the undergraduate student member of the board. All guidelines for procedures and deadlines for the selection process of the undergraduate board members shall be established by the student advisory committee, except as provided in this section. No member shall be appointed for more than 2 consecutive full terms, except that a student member may serve for only 1 term. Service for a term of less than 3 years, resulting from an initial appointment or an appointment for the remainder of an unexpired term, shall not be counted as a full term. Upon expiration of the term of office of a member, a successor shall be appointed in like manner. A vacancy shall be filled by the governor for the remainder of the term, except that if a member chosen to represent the public institutions of higher education ceases to be a member, the resultant vacancy shall be filled for the remainder of the term by the chairs of the boards of trustees of the public institutions in the same manner as in paragraph (a). Vacancies shall be filled consistent with the requirements of section 10 of chapter 30. The chairperson of the board, who shall be appointed by the governor, shall notify the governor whenever a vacancy exists. The board shall have an executive committee and such other committees as the board may from time to time establish.
(c) The members of the board shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed for all expenses reasonably incurred in the performance of their duties.
(d) No member of the board shall be principally employed within the public higher education system of the commonwealth. Not more than one third of the members shall be principally employed by the commonwealth. Members of the board who are employed on a full-time basis by the commonwealth shall be ineligible to serve as chairperson. A member of the board shall cease to be a member if such member ceases to be qualified for appointment or if he is absent from 4 regularly scheduled meetings during an academic year.
(e) A person affiliated with an independent institution of higher education shall be eligible for membership on the board. No member of the board shall be found to be in violation of section 6 of chapter 268A for conduct which involves his participation, as a member of the board, in a particular matter before the board which may affect the financial interest of an independent institution of higher education with which he is affiliated; provided, however, that the member, his immediate family or partner has no personal and direct financial interest in the particular matter; and provided further, that such affiliation is disclosed to the board and recorded in the minutes of the board.
(f) The board shall meet 6 times per year, and at least once every 2 months, omitting meetings in the months of July and August; the chair may call additional meetings at other times.
(g) Seven members of the board shall constitute a quorum and the affirmative vote of 7 members shall be necessary for any action taken by the board.
(h) All members of the board appointed by the governor shall be appointed according to section 18B of chapter 6.