Campus News

Board of regents rejects proposed amendment to university statutes

A proposed amendment to the University Statutes that would give the university president more time to consult with the University System Board of Regents, the system chancellor and others about actions by the University Council has been rejected by an attorney for the regents.

The amendment, passed last spring by University Council, is to an article in the University Statutes that gives the president four weeks to decide whether to veto an action by the council. It was proposed by the council’s Committee on Statutes, Bylaws and Committees after President Michael F. Adams told the committee he sometimes may need more than four weeks to consult with the board of regents, the chancellor or others about a council action.

The amendment states that if the president believes a council action should be reviewed by the board of regents for consistency with board policy, the president can seek clarification from the regents before deciding to approve or veto the action. If such clarification is sought, the president would have to inform the chair of the council’s Executive Committee within four weeks of any communication with the board of regents.

The regents would then have six months to determine if the action is consistent with board policy. If the regents did not respond within six months the action would become university policy unless the president vetoes it.

The proposed amendment itself had to be approved by the board of regents and was sent to the board following its passage. In September, Elizabeth Neely, associate vice chancellor for legal affairs, notified Steve Shewmaker, director of UGA’s legal affairs office, that the amendment is not acceptable.

Neely said decisions about actions of the University Council should be made by staff members in the University System office, not by the board of regents. “Any statement that refers to ‘action’ by the board of regents is entirely inappropriate unless the board actually acts,” Neely wrote in a letter to Shewmaker. “On the other hand, we would not object if the president were to indicate to the faculty that he/she had received an interpretation from the staff of the board and is using it as input in structuring his response.

“We are not in support of the proposed language that uses action of the board as part of the president’s response,” she added.

Peter Shedd, chair of the Committee on Statutes, Bylaws and Committees, said he talked with Neely and she believes the current provision in the Statutes that gives the president four weeks to decide whether to approve or veto a council action is sufficient. Shedd said the Committee on Statutes, Bylaws and Committees agrees with Neely and will take no further action to amend the Statutes on this matter.