University of North Georgia is in compliance with this core requirement. The institutional consolidation in January 2013 had no impact on and resulted in no changes to the membership or responsibilities of the governing board, which is the Board of Regents (BOR) of the University System of Georgia (USG).
The institution has a governing board of at least five members that is the legal body with specific authority over the institution.
University of North Georgia’s governing board is the Board of Regents (BOR) of the University System of Georgia (USG). According to Article I, Section 3 of the BOR Bylaws:
"The Board of Regents shall consist of one member from each congressional district in the state and five additional members from the state at large appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. The Governor shall not be a member of said Board. The term of each member shall be seven years. Members shall serve until their successors are appointed and qualified. In the event of a vacancy on the Board by death, resignation, removal, or any reason other than the expiration of a member's term, the Governor shall fill such vacancy and the person so appointed shall serve until confirmed by the Senate and, upon confirmation, shall serve for the unexpired term of office."
Currently, Georgia has 13 congressional districts; therefore, the Board has a total of 18 members known as "Regents". The USG website lists the names and addresses of the Regents as well as biographies for each BOR member which are presented in the BOR membership document.
The legal authority of the board of Regents over the institution is derived from the Constitution of the State of Georgia, Article VIII, Section IV, Paragraph 1 a and b. That legal authority is reinforced by state law in O.C.G.A 20-3-21 and O.C.G.A. 20-3-31.
Article I, Section 2 of the BOR Bylaws reiterates this authority of the Board over its member institutions:
"The charter of the Board of Regents consists of the original charter of the Trustees of the University of Georgia embodied in the Act of the General Assembly of the State of Georgia approved January 27, 1785, and modified by a subsequent Act of the General Assembly of Georgia in 1931, as follows:
- Be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that there is hereby set up and constituted a department of the State Government of Georgia, to be known as the “Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.” The name of the corporation heretofore established and existing under the name and style, “Trustees of the University of Georgia” be and the same is hereby changed to “Regents of the University System of Georgia.”
- The government, control, and management of the University System of Georgia and each of its institutions are vested by the people of Georgia exclusively with the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. The Board of Regents possesses such other authority as is granted by the Constitution of the State of Georgia and by acts of the General Assembly."
The board is an active policy-making body for the institution
The Board of Regents is very active and meets on a regular basis. The full Board generally meets ten times a year for one or two days each month, except in July and December unless the press of business requires it to meet then, too. In addition, several special meetings of the Board are called as needed each year. Agendas for the meetings are publicly available on the BOR web site the Friday prior to the meeting. An archive of meeting minutes is also publicly posted on the BOR web site.
Seven standing committees and several special committees support the work of the Board of Regents. The standing committees are as follows:
- Executive and Compensation Committee
- Strategic Planning Committee
- Committee on Real Estate and Facilities
- Committee on Academic Affairs
- Committee on Finance and Business Operations
- Committee on Organization and Law
- Committee on Internal Audit, Risk, and Compliance
The special committees are as follows:
- Personnel & Benefits
- State History Museum
- Graduate Medical Education
- Maintaining Affordability
- Shared Services Center
- Economic Development
- Regents’ Nominating
- Presidential Search
- Joint Education Boards Liaison
- Regents Public Library Advisory
- Medical College of Georgia Health, Inc.
- University System of Georgia Foundation, Inc.
The BOR maintains an appropriate distinction between its role in policy-making for university system and institutional governance and the roles of the System Office and the institutions for managing their operations in compliance with Regents’ policies. A representative example of the monthly policy-making activity of the BOR is evident in the BOR Meeting Minutes for January 10-11, 2012. At that meeting, the BOR approved the System Chancellor’s recommendation for institutional consolidations which had been under consideration for several months in accordance with previously BOR-approved principles of consolidation. Separating its policy-making authority from operational procedures, the BOR authorized the Chancellor “to take those measures which the Chancellor deems necessary and prudent to give effect to the Board’s determination that these institutions be consolidated so as to enhance and improve educational offerings and student success. All final determinations regarding consolidations, including effective dates, shall be made by the Board, in consultation with the Chancellor.”
Other BOR policy-making reflected in the January 2012 Minutes included personnel matters, revisions to the USG fringe benefit programs for employees, approvals and discontinuation of academic degree programs, revised institutional mission statement approvals, approval of cooperative agreements, matters of pending litigation, tuition and fee payment policy revisions, facilities renovation authorizations, facilities design firm appointments, facilities naming approvals, and property acquisitions.
The board is responsible for ensuring that the financial resources of the institution are adequate to provide a sound educational program.
The constitutional authority that created the BOR is explicit in relation to the financial matters and resources of the USG and its member institutions. In that regard, Article VIII, Section IV, Paragraph 1 of the Georgia Constitution (and reinforced by state laws O.C.G.A. 20-3-53 and O.C.G.A. 20-3-31) states:
(c) All appropriations made for the use of any and all institutions in the university system shall be paid to the board of regents in a lump sum, with the power and authority in said board to allocate and distribute the same among the institutions under its control in such a way and manner and in such amounts as will further an efficient and economical administration of the university system.
(d) The board of regents may hold,purchase, lease, sell, convey, or otherwise dispose of public property, execute conveyances thereon, and utilize the proceeds arising therefrom; may exercise the power of eminent domain in the manner provided by law; and shall have such other powers and duties as provided by law.
(e) the board of regents may accept bequests, donations, grants, and transfers of land, buildings, and other property for the use of the University System of Georgia.
Accordingly, the BOR has established a USG funding formula for requesting annual state appropriations, and sets tuitions and fees once appropriations and other legislative funding decisions are made. Those calculations take into account the adequacy of funding levels needed to maintain sound programs and services. Thus, the BOR provides financial resources for University of North Georgia. Article VII of the BOR Bylaws  states that:
The Board shall make the allocation of funds to the several institutions at the April meeting or the next regular meeting following the approval of the Appropriations Act or as soon thereafter as may be practicable in each year and shall approve the budgets of the institutions and of the office of the Board of Regents at the regular June meeting in each year or as soon thereafter as may be practicable.
The Board of Regents shall be the only medium through which formal requests shall be made for appropriations from the General Assembly and the Governor of the State of Georgia.
In addition to adjusting tuition and fees to maintain adequate funding, the BOR’s current institutional consolidation initiative is aimed ultimately at reducing administrative costs and redirecting savings to the expansion of educational programs and services.
The board is not controlled by a minority of board members or by organizations or interests separate from it.
The BOR is not controlled by a minority of board members, as stipulated in Article III, Section 4 of the Bylaws:“At all meetings of the Board of Regents, a majority of the members of the Board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. The action of a majority of the members of the Board present at any meeting shall be the action of the Board, except as may be otherwise provided by these Bylaws”. All members of the BOR are also subject to the procedural rules in Article III, Section 5 of the Bylaws. Lastly, Article V, Section 2 states that “no individual Board member has the authority to commit the Board to a particular action”.
Both the presiding officer of the board and a majority of other voting members of the board are free of any contractual, employment, or personal or familial financial interest in the institution.
State law, O.C.G.A., Section 45-10-24, prohibits part-time public officials with state-wide powers (including the Regents) from transacting business with any state agency, including their own; the Code of Ethics for government service contained in the O.C.G.A., Section 45-10-1, also prohibits such conflicts of interest. Additionally, the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act (Article 3 Section 21-5-50) requires all public officials to file annually a financial disclosure statement with the state for payments of more than $10,000 made by any state agency or department to the individual or to businesses they own. Adherence to these laws is monitored regularly and is subject to public scrutiny as facilitated by Georgia’s open records and open meetings regulations. Unlawful acts in this regard have not been tolerated or sustained when detected.
North Georgia College & State University was one of six 4-year military colleges in the United States, so designated in 10 USC Sec 2111a . This designation continues for the University of North Georgia. Approximately 700 students are in the Corp of Cadets. While the federal government, through the United States Department of Army, is in control of the Corp of Cadets, the Corp exists and operates as part of the University, which is governed by the Board of Regents. Article II, Section 1, paragraph E of the University of North Georgia Statutes states that the President "Shall have final decision regarding the assignment of any active duty military officer to the Institution in accordance with United States Code, Title 10, Section 2111a “Support for Senior Military Colleges”, subparagraph (c)."