TORONTO -- Students and faculty at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology have criticized the school's top governance board for adopting a policy that they say limits public participation in its meetings and reduces transparency.

The new rules would require that members of the public submit five days' notice to attend public meetings, and 10 days' notice to give presentations.

The changes, adapted by the board last month, are currently under review by the school's governance, nomination and human resources committee.

Gary Genosko, president of the university's faculty association, said the rules are further compounded by the fact that agendas aren't released until seven days before each meeting, and supporting materials are not made available to the public online, or before and after meetings.

"It doesn't increase transparency and democracy and participation; it doesn't encourage greater participation. In fact, it discourages it. We're quite concerned about that," Genosko said. "These are very stringent rules around timelines."

But Susan McGovern, vice-president of external relations, said the changes are simply to ensure there is enough meeting space and materials for members to attend.

"I don't agree with that reaction," she said. "This is about hearing what people have to say. This is about good governance for the institution and this is about being transparent and accountable."

McGovern said stakeholders wishing to participate in the process are free to ask the students, faculty and staff members who sit on the board to raise concerns and issues on their behalf.

The university's student association has been vocal against the rule changes and created an online petition to repeal the policy. The petition garnered 145 signatures after student association president Jesse Cullen posted a video condemning the decision.

"This policy prevents us from being part of really important decisions," Cullen said in the video. "The board makes decisions that have a huge impact on staff, students and faculty. They set tuition fees, the annual operating budget and admission standards and a lot of other important things."

The school's board of governors is comprised of senior administrators, public members and elected students, faculty and staff members.