Part 3 - Comprehensive Standards
  

3.2.4  The governing board is free from undue influence from political,
religious, or other external bodies, and protects the institution
from such influence. (External influence)

Compliance
Partial Compliance
Non-Compliance

Narrative

Members of the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors are free from undue influence from political, religious, or other external bodies and the management Board protects the University of New Orleans from such influence. Members of public boards, such as the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors and the Board of Regents, are defined by Article X of the Louisiana Constitution as state officials. Thus, they are subject to the Louisiana Code of Ethics. The Code delineates standards of conduct for state officials as they relate to monetary influence, gifts, nepotism, and interactions with other state agencies and officials. Another provision of the Code of Ethics requires members of state boards to disclose personal financial information including sources of income. This provision of the law assists in the identification of any potential conflict of interest for individuals being considered for board membership or of any existing conflicts of interest for individuals currently serving as board members.

The following policy goals from the Louisiana Code of Ethics attest to the importance of independence in public decision-making:

* To ensure the public confidence in the integrity of government
* To ensure the independence and impartiality of elected officials and public employees
* To ensure that governmental decisions and policy are made in the proper channel of the government structure
* To ensure that public office and employment are not used for private gain

Another safeguard to external influence on Board members is found in the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors appointment process. System Bylaw Section I ”Definitions” stipulates the procedures for Board appointment.

The Board of Supervisors is composed of two members from each congressional district and one member from the state at large who are all appointed by the governor with consent of the Senate, and who shall serve overlapping terms of six years (La. Const., Art. 8, Sec 6,B). A vacancy occurring prior to the expiration of a term shall be filled for the remainder of the unexpired term by appointment by the governor, with consent of the Senate (La. Const., Art. 8, Sec. 6C).

 The fact that Board members are appointed from the various congressional districts of the state ensures a distribution of representation and authority. The appointment of Board members to six year, staggered terms mitigates against undue influence on Board composition by any one Governor, since gubernatorial terms are four years in duration. In addition to the members appointed by the Governor, a student member is appointed to the Board with all of the privileges and rights of other Board members. The student member serves a term no longer than one year and is not eligible to succeed him or herself. The student member is elected to the Board by the membership of a council of student body presidents of the nine universities within the system. At the time of appointment, the student member must be a full-time student at the university in which he/she is enrolled.

Another safeguard against external influence is found in the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors Bylaw/Rule Section III “Meetings”. The policy requires that Board meetings be open to the public, that an agenda be developed, and that an opportunity for public comment be provided.

All regular meetings of the Board shall be open to the public except when otherwise voted for the consideration of executive matters. No final or binding action shall be taken in a closed or executive session. At least ten days prior to each regular meeting, the System President shall place on the agenda any item requested by a Board member when submitted prior to the agenda deadline with the approval of the Chair. Any item may be acted on even though not listed on the published agenda with approval of two-thirds (2/3) of the members present (Part I, Section III, Item I)

… in accordance with the provisions of L.R.S. 42.5.D, the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System provides an opportunity for public comment during public sessions of the Board and its committees.

All minutes of Board meetings are posted on the website for all university personnel and the general public to access.

Supporting Documents

Document Description
Document IconLa_Code_Ethics_GoalsLouisiana Code of Ethics Policy Goals
Document IconLa_Constit_Art_XLouisiana Constitution, Article X, Defining members of Boards as Classified and Unclassified Service
Document IconLouisiana_Code_of_Governmental_EthicsLouisiana Code of Governmental Ethics
Document IconUL_System_Bylaws_Section_I _DefinitionsUniversity of Louisiana System Bylaw Definitions - Appointment of Board Members
Document IconUL_System_Bylaws_Section_III_MeetingsUniversity of Louisiana System Bylaw Meetings
Document IconUL_System_Minutes_WebUniversity of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors Minutes Posted on Website