A group of influential Vermont leaders thinks $40 million shouldn’t buy a majority stake on the University of Vermont’s governing board.
That’s roughly how much the state appropriates to the university every year. But the group says that’s not enough. These days, state appropriations make up less than 10 percent of the university’s overall revenue, while tuition makes up about half.
In a report released last month, an advisory group convened by Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin to study the relationship between the University of Vermont and the state recommended that the state alter the university’s governing board composition to include more members who are not appointed by politicians, a shift they say would help the university when it comes to raising money and creating partnerships with outside entities.
The current board structure, put in place in the 1950s, has 25 trustees: Nine appointed by the legislature, three appointed by the governor, nine private trustees who elect their replacements, two students, and two ex-officio members (the governor of Vermont and the university president). That means political appointments outnumber “private trustees,” which the report says is a problem for the university. “This structure is out of balance in relation to that state appropriation and does not reflect the interest of the university or the true relationship to the state,” the report states. “Further, the limiting size and make up of the board hinders UVM’s ability to raise its profile within the state and nationally, raise needed dollars and recruit future trustees and supporters.”The OUS proposal lets the state appoint all members, including the token faculty and student members. 7/25/2012.