The legal authority and operating control of Southeastern Louisiana University are clearly defined within the University's governance structure. As indicated below, the governance structure overseeing Southeastern defines authority and control over the University's mission, fiscal stability, and institutional policies, including policies with regard to related and affiliated corporate entities and auxiliary services as well as related foundations and other entities.
Legal Authority of the Louisiana Board of Regents
The legal authority for the approval of the institution's mission resides with the state legislature with operating control given to the Louisiana Board of Regents. As can be seen in the
Louisiana State Constitution of 1974, Article 8, Education, §5 Board of Regents, the Regents have the authority ‘…to plan, coordinate, and have budgetary responsibility for all public postsecondary education….” Those powers specifically vested in the Board and enumerated in the Constitution include the following:
(1) To revise or eliminate an existing degree program, department of instruction, division, or similar subdivision.
(2) To approve, disapprove, or modify a proposed degree program, department of instruction, division, or similar subdivision.
(3)(a) To study the need for and feasibility of creating a new institution of postsecondary education, which includes establishing a branch of such an institution or converting any non-degree granting institution to an institution which grants degrees or converting any college or university which is limited to offering degrees of a lower rank than baccalaureate to a college or university that offers baccalaureate degrees or merging any institution of postsecondary education into any other institution of postsecondary education, establishing a new management board, and transferring a college or university from one board to another.
(b) If the creation of a new institution, the merger of any institutions, the addition of another management board, or the transfer of an existing institution of higher education from one board to another is proposed, the Board of Regents shall report its written findings and recommendations to the legislature within one year. Only after the report has been filed, or after one year from the receipt of a request for a report from the legislature if no report is filed, may the legislature take affirmative action on such a proposal and then only by law enacted by two-thirds of the elected members of each house.
(4) To formulate and make timely revision of a master plan for postsecondary education. As a minimum, the plan shall include a formula for equitable distribution of funds to the institutions of postsecondary education.
(5) To require that every postsecondary education board submit to it, at a time it specifies, an annual budget proposal for operational needs and for capital needs of each institution under the control of each board. The Board of Regents shall submit its budget recommendations for all institutions of postsecondary education in the state. It shall recommend priorities for capital construction and improvements.
The state's Master Plan for Public Postsecondary Education, which was written by the Board staff and approved by the Board, gives the mission statement of each public postsecondary institution in Louisiana.
As can also be seen from the above listed general and specific powers, the Board of Regents also assumes broad legal authority for the fiscal stability of an institution. Operating budgets, formula funding, and capital outlay approvals are the responsibility of the Regents.
Legal Authority of the University of Louisiana System
The Louisiana State Constitution of 1974 also specifies in Article 8 that powers not given to the Regents are assumed by the state's management boards. The management board for Southeastern Louisiana University is the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors. As described on the Regent's web site:
The Board of Regents is a policy-making and coordinating board only; it is not directly involved in overseeing the day-to-day operations of the various college campuses. The 1974 Constitution reserves that responsibility for the state's four higher education management boards: the LSU Board of Supervisors, the Southern University Board of Supervisors, the University of Louisiana System Board, and the Louisiana Community and Technical College Board.
Furthermore, the Regents make this statement on their website:
The Constitution provides that all duties and responsibilities not specifically vested in the Board of Regents be assigned to the respective management boards. This carefully drawn division of responsibility enables the Board of Regents to chart general academic and fiscal directions for higher education in Louisiana without becoming unnecessarily entangled in the day-to-day mechanics of operating college campuses.
Thus, in practice, the Board of Regents' determines what academic programs an institution may offer and assesses the quality and need for those programs, but the management boards oversee instructional operations; the Regents administer the funding formula and set down guidelines for preparing campus budgets, but the management boards have the responsibility of preparing and administering those budgets; the Regents set tenure standards which the university systems must meet or exceed, but only the management boards may approve campus personnel actions.
The University of Louisiana Board of Supervisors has a number of policies that deal with the day-to-day aspects of mission and fiscal stability such as Board Rules, Part II, Chapter I, Section V New Degree Program Requests and Board Rules, Part II, Chapter IV, Section II Budgets. In many cases these policies require that the Supervisors have an opportunity to review requests and documents to be submitted to the Regents.
Legal Authority of the University's President
Those responsibilities not generally or specifically given to the Regents or to the management boards through the 1974 State Constitution or those powers not further specified in Regents policy, University of Louisiana System Board Rules or University of Louisiana System Policies and Procedures Memoranda are given to the Presidents of each institution. The Board Rules (Part II, Chapter III, Section IV. Role, Contractual Arrangements, Benefits, Expenses, and Evaluations of Presidents) state the following:
The President's Role . The president of an institution, in serving as chief executive officer and leader of a state institution of higher education, is expected to assume a public and official role with responsibilities and duties related to both campus and community life. It is recognized that the demands of this role and position impact upon the president's entire daily life and that of the president's family.
Specific responsibilities of the president shall include, but not necessarily be limited to:
Administering the institution over which he/she is appointed and exercising complete executive authority therein, subject to the direction and control of the System President and the Board;
Carrying out all duties expressly assigned by statute and those duties delegated by the Board and System President consistent with policies approved by the Board;
Being responsible to the Board and the System President for the effective execution of all Board and System policies, resolutions, rules, and regulations adopted by the Board as well as plans, memoranda, and directives issued by the System President. The institution president's discretionary powers shall be broad enough to enable him/her to meet his/her extensive responsibilities;
Providing effective performance as reviewed by the Board's evaluation process, i.e., ensuring excellence in the institution, its faculty and students, in instruction, and research quality;
Assuming and retaining control at all times over the budget of the institution, including functions of review and recommendation concerning the budgets of all divisions of the campus and the preparation of a consolidated budget, as well as execution of the budget as approved by the Board; and development and administration of the campus operational, auxiliary enterprise, and restricted funds budgets as approved by the Board, including establishment of priorities for expenditures and achievement of revenue projections as set forth in the approved budgets;
Being the official medium of communication between the System President and all constituencies at the campus level: faculty, students, administrators, classified employees, alumni and the local community;
Providing academic leadership for the campus through established planning processes and prioritization of goals and objectives; promotion of academic excellence through execution of strategic initiatives outlined by the System President and the Board; development and motivation of personnel to accomplish the campus mission; and promotion of innovative and efficient uses of campus resources;
Administration of all aspects of campus affairs affecting student life and otherwise promoting the learning environment for the welfare of the student body;
Development of an effective public service program for both the campus and the community to ensure the university is meeting the needs of its constituents;
Making recommendations to the System Office for all personnel actions (appointments, promotions, transfers, suspensions, dismissals, retirements, etc.) for Board approval;
Recommending those persons to be granted tenure by the Board;
Development, maintenance, and operation of the campus physical plant as well as the development of long-range capital construction priorities;
Designating an officer who will be second in line of authority at the institution and who will perform such duties as may be assigned by the president, and notifying the System President in writing of this designation; and
Development of an effective community relations program including, but not limited to, developing ongoing relationships with alumni and building the university's endowment. (Addition approved 8/27/99)
Providing effective leadership in efforts to secure various sources of funding for the university.
Thus it is clear that the President has the legal authority to set institutional policy as it relates to academic matters, institutional management of the budget, administration in all matters of campus life, communications at all levels, and the daily business of the University.
The President also has the legal authority to seek the establishment of foundations that appropriately support the mission and programs of the University. However the University of Louisiana System Policies and Procedures Memoranda FB-IV.(4) makes this clear while reiterating “… the legally required separation between private and public funds as detailed in Article 7, Section 14 of the Louisiana Constitution….” Moreover, the Memorandum further lays out the basic principles by which university-foundation relationships will be established and maintained. These principles include the establishment of a board of directors, financial relationships, requirements for audits, use of institutional facilities, etc. Comprehensive Standard 3.2.13 further explains how these guidelines are used to manage the relationships between foundations and the institution.