Last week, University of Minnesota (UMN) Regent Dave McMillan resigned from the board to join the running for UMN–Duluth’s interim chancellor post.
After an initial search for the next chancellor came up empty and an alleged “high level discussion” took place between Mr. McMillan and UMN President Joan Gabel regarding the chancellor position, Mr. McMillan stepped down from the board of regents. The timing of his resignation—one day before the deadline to submit candidacy—along with his role in approving President Gabel’s newest five-year contract has caused some to allege a conflict of interest or quid pro quo between Mr. McMillan and President Gabel. Former Minnesota governor Arne Carlson has called for a legislative audit of Mr. McMillan’s application and nomination process as well as the power structure of the board of regents.
In reaction, Armand Alacbay, ACTA’s Vice President of Trustee & Government Affairs, remarked, “Members of university governing boards—particularly those that oversee state flagship systems like the University of Minnesota—have a primary responsibility to the public. This duty stands above any other constituency and requires that a regent avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest in carrying out his or her fiduciary obligations. To do otherwise undermines public trust in our nation’s institutions of higher education, which are vital to the long-term civic and economic health of this country. Public confidence in higher education requires that board members treat their role not as an honorific but as a solemn duty.”
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