House Bill 1116 and Senate Bill 111 – Two Acts of Unintended Consequences?
The public university system takes university presidents. Thus, all have
very seriously its charge to deliver a talents and specialized expertise, and
globally competitive, well-educated national reputations.
workforce for South Dakota.
House Bill 1116 now seeks to limit
Over the past decade, the state has the outside employment and
invested critical resources at our compensation these presidents may
public universities to build a highly- accept. Senate Bill 111 goes farther,
effective research and technology- and would bar any and all outside
centered economic development employment or compensation. Taken
engine. Today, South Dakota public together, these measures would
universities are competing prevent our presidents from
regionally, nationally, and globally. accepting almost any kind of outside
compensation from a public or
At the same time, the leadership of private entitiy.
our public universities are
individuals recognized for their own Today, South Dakota is fortunate to
high-level of professional have the executive leadership with
accomplishments aas well as for nationally recognized
their executive leadership common at accomplishments serving as
other major research and teaching university presidents. They are and
universities across the country. will be sought out for their expertise
and national reputations. It is
Our university presidents are encouraging to know that here in
growing enrollment, expanding South Dakota, we do have that kind
research opportunities, raising record of talent to be an active participant in
levels of private money, and national and international business
elevating the profile of the and government activities. This
universities they lead in South higher profile is a change for South
Dakota, in the region, nationally and Dakota higher education—but it is
internationally. an important one.
Very deliberately, the Board of Limitations imposed by these bills
Regents, on behalf of the people of would snuff out the outside exposure
South Dakota, has focused on for South Dakota and its institutions
attracting and recruiting very of higher education that can be
competent, nationally competitive gained by executive service on
high caliber scholars as public national boards.
This measure also will have serious today’s academic world, and here in
consequences, perhaps largely South Dakota’s public universities as
unintended by its sponsors. Consider well, there are numerous and specific
safeguards in place—in both federal and
the statement that we will make as a
state law and administrative—that
state: we do not value the expertise
closely guard the principles of academic
and important contributions our
freedom and ensure that faculty
presidents can offer in national and members and university researchers are
international circles. That will, free to pursue their research and
unfortunately, speak volumes about scholarship. There would be certain
the kind of future we want for new consequences to be paid otherwise.
generations of South Dakotans. It is
NOT the right message! Simply put—our recruitment,
reputation, and responsibility as
It serves to discourage executive- academic leaders is at stake.
level candidates in the future from
Rather than denying participation and
applying for our senior openings, as
involvement with the national and
these types of limitations are not
international economic community, the
standard business or university focus should instead be placed on the
practice. public having full access to and
knowledge of such activities. The Board
Boards of publically traded corporations of Regents has a transparent policy and
have and are going to continue to disclosure process that makes this
aggressively recruit independent information available to the public, and
directors from higher education because that is as it should be.
of the characteristics of integrity,
accountability, informed judgment, In South Dakota, university presidents
financial literacy, mature confidence and are and will continue to be evaluated for
high standards of social responsibility their leadership of the institution. The
required of independent directors to right questions to ask are these:
assure the best interests of shareholders,
of customers and of the public are o Do they grow the university’s
foremost in the boards deliberations. By research portfolio and advance
eliminating our leaders from this pool of research-driven economic growth
candidates, South Dakota simply yields for the state?
its influence and recognition to those
from other states. o Do they attract more students, to
grow the record number of students
we already serve?
It has been suggested there may be
potential interference with academic or o And, under their leadership, will
research work, based on a president’s university foundations continue to
involvement as independent directors of raise record levels of gifts?
publically traded corporations. In