What Responsibilities Do University Trustees Have?


By Ashley Thompson

The Majority of universities have a board of trustees but what are their responsibilities?  And could Alabama State's board of trustees be overstepping their boundaries?

Jay Coleman is an alumnus of Alabama State University who also previously worked for the school. He tells us he's not surprised to hear that several trustees are accused of financial wrongdoing.

"You have these people who were appointed to the board or who have been a part of the administration for years and years. So at this point now, they feel like they're entitled to Alabama State University."

So what ARE the responsibilities of board members? Andy Hornsby, who serves on Tuskegee University's Board of Trustees, says he believes there are three major duties; hiring and firing a president, approving an operating budget, and approving other major hires and organizational issues.

"They're not to be involved in day-to-day management," Hornsby says.

He says he believes trustees at ASU may have over stepped their boundaries.

"The Board of Trustees gets where they start to get overly involved in management activities and want to make decisions that are not appropriate in their role."

On campus, students tell us they're frustrated with what they say is a lack of transparency by board members.

"I honestly think they should just remove everybody from the trustee board," says student Rita Pullol. "The trustee board, I feel like they need to classify everything to us because we still don't know the issues."

Some say they're not optimistic the structural problems at the university will be resolved anytime soon.

"Those who are in office won't necessarily allow things to change too much because that will be taken out of their pockets," says sophomore Denandez Walker.

Governor Robert Bentley has requested the search for a president be called off until he can meet with board members to discuss results of the audit. But officials at ASU say the search will go on regardless. Something Hornsby says isn't very smart.

"He appoints that board and that board serves at his pleasure. If I'm on that board, I'm certainly listening to what the governor has to say."



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