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3.2 Governance and Administration

Comprehensive Standard:

3.2.13 For any entity organized separately from the institution and formed primarily for the purpose of supporting the institution or its programs: (1) the legal authority and operating control of the institution is clearly defined with respect to that entity; (2) the relationship of that entity to the institution and the extent of annual liability arising out of the relationship is clearly described in a formal, written manner; and (3) the institution demonstrates that (a) the chief executive officer controls any fund-raising activities of that entity or (b) the fund-raising activities of that entity are defined in a formal, written manner which assures that those activities further the mission of the institution. (Institution-related entities)

Statement of Compliance:   In Compliance.

Narrative:

The University of West Georgia (UWG) has three separate entities formed primarily for the purpose of supporting the institution.  The UWG Foundation, Inc. [1], [2] is a Georgia charitable corporation, and has been recognized as an organization exempt from Federal Income Tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code [3], and gifts to the Foundation are deductible as provided for in section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code [4]. The Foundation encourages both restricted (specific purpose) and unrestricted (general use) gifts from donors. 

The UWG Real Estate Foundation [5], [6] is a Georgia charitable corporation, and has been recognized as an organization exempt from Federal Income Tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code [7]. It is primarily a pass-thru entity used to finance the acquisition and construction of real property for co-curricular activity, via a Public Private Venture Program.  The University System of Georgia’s Public Private Venture Program is a privatized transaction involving a quasi-governmental issuing authority which loans money to a real estate foundation [8]. The foundation can then use these funds to construct facilities such as residence halls, parking decks, food courts, student unions, recreation centers, and stadiums.   These structures are leased back to the University System of Georgia for use by its students, faculty, and staff. 

The UWG Athletic Foundation [9], [10] is a Georgia charitable corporation, and has filed for exemption for Federal Income Tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  A memorandum of understanding (MOU) currently exists that allows the UWG Athletic Foundation temporary use of the UWG Foundation’s tax exempt status [11]. The UWG Athletic Foundation’s primary objective is to support a preeminent intercollegiate athletics program by providing student athletes the opportunity to achieve excellence in academics, community service, and athletic competition. 

The relationships between these organizations and University of West Georgia are currently governed by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents (BOR) Policy Manual policy on "Cooperative Organizations" [12].  This BOR Policy was revised in September 2009, replacing the previous Section 19.05 policy [13].  While the policies and principles contained in the revised policy are unchanged, the pre-2009 policy contained a uniform BOR "Memorandum of Agreement."  Because nothing in the new policy either conflicts with, or prevents adherence to, the old policy, UWG has chosen to continue using the uniform BOR Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).      

The MOA that describes the relationship between University of West Georgia and the cooperative organization is officially entitled as a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and it includes criteria for establishing and maintaining the relationship.  While the MOU must be renewed every five years, the cooperative organization must meet legal, fiscal, and administrative criteria on an on-going basis.  An independent audit must be conducted annually; a copy must be provided to the president of the university.

The MOU is explicit regarding liability.  Neither the Cooperative Organization nor the Institution shall have any liability for the obligations, acts or omissions of the other party.  The Cooperative Organization "shall not accept any gift, donation, and grant or enter into any transaction that creates any liability for the Institution, without advance written approval by the President."

Further explanations of the accounting and business policies that must be followed for a Cooperative Organization are in the BOR Business Procedures Manual under Affiliated Organizations [14].

The MOU’s for the three university-related foundations are available [15], [16], [17].

Supporting Documentation: