Trustees | Trusteeship

The Role of University Trustees

NEW YORK TIMES   |  July 16, 2014

Re “Deal Allows University of Texas President to Keep Job for Now” (news article, July 10):

In the case involving the president of the University of Texas at Austin, William C. Powers Jr., many in the academy would have you believe that trustees were the villains: elite power brokers trying to oust a president for political purposes or cold, well-connected businessmen focused on pleasing employers while leaving research and the liberal arts behind. They would be wrong.

The Texas showdown was not about yahoo trustees and upright administrators. It was about the future of higher education.

Colleges that once were called the envy of the world now draw regular critiques from President Obama and others for their high cost and low quality. Trustees cannot just hand over dollars, no questions asked.

We must support trustees who ask tough questions that go to the very heart of the academic enterprise: integrity in admissions; equitable compensation; cost effectiveness and yes, employer satisfaction. Trustees are just like us: citizens who volunteer, in this case to ensure that students receive a rich education and that public funds are being spent responsibly.

They don’t work for the governor, the faculty or the president. Trustees work for the people.


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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