Section 3.2 Governance and Administration
The governing board is free from undue influence from political, religious, or other external bodies, and protects the institution from such influence.
Members of the Board of Trustees obtain additional training from undue influence at Texas Association of Community Colleges Trustees and Administrators meeting held each year in Austin, Texas, a conference sponsored by Texas Association of Community Colleges. Also, the board is invited annually to Austin, Texas, to attend the Closing the Gaps Governing Board Conference sponsored by The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
Western Texas College is a public community college, and Board members are elected as at-large members by voters in the Scurry County Junior College District to six-year terms that are staggered in two-year intervals. The Texas Education Code, Subchapter G, Section 51.352 (a) (1) (LINK) provides that the governing board of an institution of higher learning “is expected to preserve institutional independence and to defend its own right to manage its own affairs through its chosen administration and employees.” The Board of Trustees is not subject to undue influence from political, religious, or other external bodies. Board Policy 8000, Section I, Part C, Sub-section 4 (LINK to Board Policy 8000) states “The Board should not operate from any undue influence by any individual or group of individuals and their decisions should be based on the philosophy and purpose of the institution.”
Furthermore, Board members must operate in accordance with Board Policy 8251, which is a detailed discussion of conflict of interest. In addition, Board members are bound by a Code of Behavior (Board Policy 8250), (LINK) which states, in part, “This Board does not wish in any way to subordinate the education of its students to any partisan principle, group interest, or personal ambition.”
An examination of Board Minutes (LINK) from 2004 – 2006 reveals no evidence of undue influence from external groups or organizations. Specific examples in which the Board demonstrated its freedom from “undue influence from political, religious, or other external bodies, and protects the institution from such influence” are provided in actions taken by the Board in three separate board meetings (March 06, 2000; May 25, 2004, and July 12, 2004). (LINK to Board of Trustee meetings of March 06, 2000, May 25, 2004, and July 12, 2004). In each of these meetings, the Trustees took action on items of high profile and controversy in the college and community.
Evidence of Support:
Texas Education Code, Subchapter G, Section 51.352 (a) (1) (LINK)
Institutional Policy Manual, Policies 8000, 8250, 8251.
Minutes of Board Meetings, 2004-2006