Restore Trust and Accountability
Holding elected office is a solemn responsibility that should be carried out with the utmost integrity. Unfortunately, there have been instances where a current regent has been accused of using their position to inappropriately pressure school administration and faculty to waive academic course requirements for a close family member and also demanding free tickets for other family members to high-profile college sporting events. This is inexcusable behavior that has been simply ignored by the other regents. These are serious allegations that first came to light when university personnel raised a red flag as to the behavior. The local media then ran a series of pieces outlining the abuses to no avail. There was no formal investigation by the board, no public discussion on the record about the various occurrences and no censure. I am proposing a change to board policy that will outline when a formal investigation is called for to protect the integrity of the board.
Additionally, other regents have engaged in profligate spending at high-dollar restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip using public funds. It is clear that tighter controls need to be implemented outlining what is a reasonable expense and even what is an appropriate venue for conducting NSHE business. I don’t think our students and faculty are spending a lot of nights out wining and dining on Las Vegas Blvd on their school’s dollar, so I think better judgement and stronger oversight of board spending is called for. This oversight should take the form of stringent guidelines outlining what kind of spending is permissible and even filing quarterly expense reports and conducting audits that coincide with the quarterly meetings of the board. These are relatively easy steps the board can take to regulate itself.
One of the roles of the board of regents is to act as an oversight body for our entire higher education system, but if the board is unwilling to investigate and crack down on unethical behavior by one of its own, how can it be expected to effectively demonstrate what accountability looks like? It is time for some new blood to join the board and demonstrate real leadership by speaking up and saying enough is enough.