SACS Home at The University of West Georgia

Log On


3.2 Governance and Administration

Comprehensive Standard:

3.2.4 The governing board is free from undue influence from political, religious, or other external bodies and protects the institution from such influence. (External influence)

Statement of Compliance:   In Compliance.

Narrative:

The governing board of the University of West Georgia is the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. The narrative for Core Requirement 2.2 covers stipulates to the composition of the Board of Regents and its policy-making function.  

Essentially, the requirements for the composition of the Board of Regents delineate the specific and/or desired qualifications required of individual Board of Regents members. Outside of the boundaries imposed on the selection of Board of Regents members by those bodies of law referenced in the narrative for Core Requirement 2.2 and with the exception of internal vacancies filled by existing or ex officio Board of Regents members, the specific and/or desired qualifications of individual Board of Regents members are at the discretion of the governor who makes all appointments and the Senate which must confirm those appointments. The relevant details of the process and the citation of the appropriate bodies of law are contained in the narrative for Comprehensive Standard 3.2.5 [1], [2].

The integrity and independence of the Board of Regents is established and protected by statutes of Georgia Code and by the Board’s own Policy Manual.  Sections 45-10-1, 45-10-20, and 45-10-22 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) specifically stipulate acceptable and unacceptable behavior of elected and appointed officials of the State of Georgia.  These apply directly to members of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents [3].  The statutes are as follows:    

"45-10-1. Establishment and text of code of ethics for government service generally

Any person in government service should:

I. Put loyalty to the highest moral principles and to country above loyalty to persons, party, or government department.
II. Uphold the Constitution, laws, and legal regulations of the United States and the State of Georgia and of all governments therein and never be a party to their evasion.
III. Give a full day's labor for a full day's pay and give to the performance of his duties his earnest effort and best thought.
IV. Seek to find and employ more efficient and economical ways of getting tasks accomplished.
V. Never discriminate unfairly by the dispensing of special favors or privileges to anyone, whether for remuneration or not, and never accept, for himself or his family, favors or benefits under circumstances which might be construed by reasonable persons as influencing the performance of his governmental duties.
VI. Make no private promises of any kind binding upon the duties of office, since a government employee has no private word which can be binding on public duty.
VII. Engage in no business with the government, either directly or indirectly, which is inconsistent with the conscientious performance of his governmental duties.
VIII. Never use any information coming to him confidentially in the performance of governmental duties as a means for making private profit.
IX. Expose corruption wherever discovered.
X. Uphold these principles, ever conscious that public office is a public trust."

"45-10-20. Definitions:

 As used in this part, the term:

(1) "Agency" means any agency, authority, department, board, bureau, commission, committee, office, or instrumentality of the State of Georgia but shall not mean a political subdivision of the State of Georgia.(2) "Business" means any corporation, partnership, proprietorship, firm, enterprise, franchise, association, organization, self-employed individual, trust, or other legal entity.
(3) "Employee" means any person who, pursuant to a written or oral contract, is employed by an agency.
(4) "Family" means spouse and dependents.
(5) "Full-time" means 30 hours of work for the state per week for more than 26 weeks per calendar year.(6) "Limited powers" means those powers other than state-wide powers.
(7) "Part-time" means any amount of work other than full-time work."

"45-10-22. Full-time public officials with state-wide powers prohibited from transacting business with all state agencies; public officials or employees with limited powers prohibited from transacting business with own state agency:

 (a)(1) It shall be unlawful for any full-time public official who has state-wide powers, for himself or on behalf of any business, or for any business in which such public official or member of his family has a substantial interest to transact any business with any agency.

 (2) It shall be unlawful for any public official who has limited powers, for himself or on behalf of any business, or for any business in which such public official or member of his family has a substantial interest to transact any business with the agency for which such public official serves.

(b) The provisions of paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of this Code section shall not apply to:

(1) Any transaction made pursuant to sealed competitive bids;
(2) Any transaction when the amount of a single transaction does not exceed $250.00 and when the aggregate of all such transactions does not exceed $9,000.00 per calendar year; and
(3) Any transaction involving the lease of real property to or from any agency if such transaction has been approved by the State Properties Commission or the Space Management Division of the Department of Administrative Services."

In addition to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated that establishes a code of ethics of all government appointees, the Board of Regents Policy Manual of the further establishes the Board’s responsibility for protecting institutions within the University System from undue influence.  Specifically, Board of Regents Policy Manual: § 12.1: (Political Interference) maintains that "(t)he Board of Regents is unalterably opposed to political interference or domination of any kind or character in the affairs of any institution in the University System of Georgia" [4].

The narrative for Comprehensive Standard 3.2.3 speaks to relevant state and Board of Regents policies relevant to conflict of interest, and undue or inappropriate influences such as those which may be incurred through external bodies attempting influence through donations to the university.

University of West Georgia policies clearly insulate the institution from possible undue influences brought to bear by external vendors doing business with the university. The Campus Advertising Sales & Solicitation Policy restricts advertising and on-campus sales by outside entities. This policy, also, prohibits most forms of solicitation on campus and directs the procedures for corporate sponsored activities. For example, the following is an excerpt of from the policy concerning solicitation:

“Solicitation shall include any undertaking of an individual or group which attempts to promote the sale or use of a particular product or service. Specifically, this policy addresses the following:

  1. Soliciting on campus (door to door or office to office) is expressly prohibited.
  2. There shall be no soliciting of funds, prizes, or awards for scholarships, loans, grants, equipment, supplies, or other purposes unless it is approved by and in cooperation with the Office of the Assoc. Vice President of Development and/or others expressly authorized by the President.
  3. Solicitation in or on all campus facilities (buildings and grounds) by for-profit corporations, non-profit organizations, private individuals, faculty, staff, or non-resident students is prohibited.
  4. Personal solicitation through campus e-mail list serves is prohibited” [5].

The University of West Georgia insures that faculty teaching and research activities are free from the influence of "political, religious, or other external bodies" though the implementation and maintenance of the institution's policy on academic freedom. For example, University of West Georgia policies regarding academic freedom specifically require that any influence on faculty "...because of religious or other aims of the institution should be clearly stated in writing at the time of the appointment" of the faculty member [6].

The University of West Georgia's Ethics in Government Policy is formed by the January 29, 1999 Executive Order from then governor Roy E. Barnes (1999-2003). The executive order iterates and extends the Code of Georgia Annotated § 45-10-1. In abbreviation, the executive order specifies thus:

"On January 12, 1999, Governor Barnes signed an Executive Order establishing an Ethics in Government Policy for employees of the Executive Branch, including all employees of the Governor's Office. Due to a number of comments from many of you regarding the policy, we have attempted to further clarify the order....

Pursuant to the Order all Executive Branch employees supervised by the Governor are prohibited from accepting a gift from any person unless the person is an employee’s relative or a personal friend of the employee who is neither a lobbyist and/or a vendor of the state. However, the order does specify certain exceptions....

It is important to convey to the employees that violation of the order may subject an employee to disciplinary action, including termination of employment" [7]

As of this time, there have been no cases involving the University of West Georgia regarding any "unreasonable intrusions" or pressures brought to bear by "political, religious, or other external bodies" which required formal resolution.

Supporting Documentation: