Statement | Governance

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin Vetoes Senate Bill 506

April 9, 2024

On April 8, 2024, Governor Glenn Youngkin vetoed Senate Bill 506, legislation that attempted to circumvent the taxpayers of Virginia by allowing higher education governing boards to be beholden to the narrow interests of the institutions they serve. Had Senate Bill 506 become law, the mandate would have required public college and university trustees to answer primarily to their respective universities’ presidents and administrators, and secondarily to the taxpayers of Virginia and their representatives in Richmond. This notion would have overturned current Virginia law which states that a trustee’s “primary duty [is] to the citizens of the Commonwealth.”

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) first raised the alarm about the bill in January, and we have been communicating with lawmakers in the General Assembly throughout every step of the legislation’s journey to Governor Youngkin’s desk. Most recently, ACTA Senior Program Officer for Trustee & Government Affairs Nick Down testified against the measure and published an article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch arguing against the bill’s passage.  

In response to the governor’s veto, ACTA President Michael Poliakoff, a Virginia resident, stated, “Bravo, Governor Youngkin! The first duty of the boards of visitors of our public universities is to serve the citizens of this state. They do this by prudent oversight of their schools and by creating policies directed at the public good, not at narrow parochial desires that an institutional constituency might demand. When the Commonwealth is the priority of the board of visitors, our universities will fulfill their mission of teaching, learning, and research and enjoy the esteem and support of Virginia’s citizens.”

ACTA is dedicated to holding public college and university leaders accountable to the constituents they serve. We thank Governor Youngkin for his prudent decision to veto Senate Bill 506.


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.

Discover More