Press Releases | Trusteeship

ACTA Defends University of California Regent for Acting in Public Interest

Trustees Have Fiduciary Obligation to Ask Tough Questions
October 28, 2003

WASHINGTON, DC—The American Council of Trustees and Alumni today praised University of California Board chairman John J. Moores for acting in the public interest by questioning existing admissions policies at the Berkeley campus.

Moores recently questioned whether Berkeley admissions policies “might not be compatible with [the] goal of maintaining academic excellence” after a study found that nearly 400 students were admitted to Berkeley in 2002 with SAT scores of 600 to 1000, far below the 1337 SAT average for the entering class as a whole. Moores came under attack from Berkeley Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl for doing the university a “great disservice” by speaking out.

“Regent Moores should be commended for his courage and leadership,” said ACTA President Anne D. Neal in a letter to all members of the Board, as well as University of California President Robert C. Dynes and Berdahl. ACTA is a nationwide organization of college and university trustees.

“It is entirely proper—indeed it is a fiduciary obligation—for trustees to question the fundamental policies of their institutions, including admissions criteria. Moores was being a concerned and responsible trustee.”

“Chancellor Berdahl is operating out of an antiquated model of trusteeship, which calls upon the Board to be a rubber stamp,” the letter continued. “Trustee Moores, by contrast, reflects the new philosophy that trustees should be active and responsible representatives of the public interest.”

“All too often the education establishment comes to the table with a profound sense that it is above the accountability demanded of others,” said ACTA. “That is no longer acceptable. Trustee oversight includes ensuring that school policies uphold the integrity of the university mission, on everything from admissions standards to the quality of a degree.”

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni is a nonprofit organization dedicated to academic freedom and excellence in higher education.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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