Regents create new committee

Brian Edwards

Members of the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents  hope the creation of a new committee will help the group become more effective policy makers. 
University leaders created the new body, the Governance and Policy Committee, to review the board’s effectiveness. The new committee also aims to help inform the regents on a variety of issues in the upcoming year and provide a place to talk about topics that don’t fall under the board’s current committees.
The formation of the new committee comes after Board Chair Dean Johnson vowed to lead a more engaged board at its June meeting after some legislators raised questions about regents’ effectiveness. 
Johnson, who is the vice chair of the committee, said the Board looked at other Big Ten schools and found that the ability to assess the board from time to time could improve its functionality.
Regent Richard Beeson said the new committee will bring a fresh perspective when the board covers important topics this year like enrollment strategy and campus planning.
“The structures are not wooden, and they do need to evolve over time,” he said. “They have and will continue to do that.”
Johnson said the new committee will resolve questions that occasionally arise about which committee will have jurisdiction over a policy.
Beeson, who has served on the board since 2009, said the idea for this type of committee had never been brought up during his tenure.
Still, the ability to assess the regents is vital to ensure the board operates smoothly, he said.
“Just to having time to talk about how we do our business, I think it’s healthy for the organization,” Beeson said.
The ability to review school policies and find the weaknesses in them will help strengthen the University as a whole, said Regent Michael Hsu, citing the affirmative consent policy, which was questioned by some regents in front of the full board at its July meeting. 
“It kind of highlighted some weaknesses in our student conduct code board process,” Hsu said. “In general, policies should all be reviewed periodically.”