UofSC’s Board of Trustees approves governance reforms

The University of South Carolina’s Board of Trustees adopted a new set of policies Friday (Feb. 14) designed to address and eliminate potential external influence on board decisions. The board also adopted a new oath of office for its members and established a new committee charged with identifying ways to strengthen overall board governance.

The action follows a review by the Association of Governing Boards into board operations. The association’s review, recommended by President Bob Caslen and presented at a two-day retreat in January, made recommendations on how to improve the work of the board through the adoption of national higher education best practices.

Board Chairman John C. von Lehe Jr. said Friday’s action is the beginning of an ongoing process to enhance the board’s service to the university through strengthened policies and potential structural reforms.

“As we pledged at our recent retreat, our board will continue to identify ways in which we can build trust with university stakeholders and reaffirm our commitment to ethical and accountable leadership. This was an important step in fulfilling that promise, and I thank our voting members as well as Faculty Senate Chairman Mark Cooper and Student Body President Luke Rankin for their endorsement and support,” von Lehe said.

The new governance committee, chaired by trustee C. Dorn Smith III, will begin its work by conducting a review of all existing board policies. That review, and potential recommended changes, will be presented at a future board meeting.

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