Foundations at UM given tighter rules

Stricter reporting required in wake of Bowie State abuses

'Only the first step'

Senate president proposes to transfer agencies to campuses

February 06, 1999|By Michael Hill | Michael Hill,SUN STAFF

The Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland accepted yesterday a recommendation to tighten up the reporting requirements of its schools' foundations as state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller filed a bill that would allow each campus to run its own foundation.

Regents Chairman Lance W. Billingsley had assured the task force that examined the state's system of higher education last fall that a regents committee was looking into the issue of campus-based foundations and would report at its February meeting. The task force, chaired by retired Naval Academy head Adm. Charles R. Larson, deferred to that committee and took no formal stand on the issue.

At the regents meeting yesterday at the University of Baltimore, the committee report dealt only with issues raised by abuses of the foundation at Bowie State, where funds were used for such things as a luxury cruise, personal clothing and pro football tickets, leading to the resignation of school President Nathanael Pollard Jr.

Another committee will be appointed to look into the foundations' structure.

"This is only the first step," Billingsley said. "That will be the second step."

Billingsley said the new report will be completed by the regents' next meeting scheduled for early April, too late for legislation in this year's session of the General Assembly.

Miller's bill, filed Thursday, deals directly with the foundations' structure, calling for the presidents of institutions within the UM system to have the power to establish campus-based foundations that "shall operate subject to policies adopted by the Board of Regents in consultation with the presidents."

Currently, each school has a separate foundation to invest and distribute private donations given to support school activities similar to private university endowments. They are all run out of the University System office and are essentially independent of the campuses.

"I certainly hope that the sentiment expressed in [Miller's] bill will come to pass in one way or another," said Clayton D. "Dan" Mote, president of the University of Maryland, College Park, who was disappointed that the regents made no recommendation on the issue yesterday. "I think that it expresses the feelings of the task force," he said.

Mote has pressed for the campus-based foundations, much like the one he administered at the University of California at Berkeley, where he made his reputation as a fund-raiser.

Not all presidents want campus-based foundations.

"I am worried about having the resources to start up and run a foundation on campus," said Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Hrabowski said he is concerned that if too many campuses set up their own foundations, the central operation would be weakened.

"The current setup works well for us," Hrabowski said.

Yesterday's recommendations to the regents would make the foundations more independent by keeping university employees out of their administration but require them to make regular reports to the system chancellor and the legislature, and to conduct internal audits.

The committee also recommended better reporting of expenditures and regular briefings for school presidents and foundation officials on their responsibilities.

Pollard resigned from Bowie State in December during an inquiry by the regents into the misuse of foundation funds at his school. He was replaced on an interim basis by Wendell M. Holloway, who left the Board of Regents to take the job.

Pub Date: 2/06/99

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