2007 Reaffirmation Teams
3.2.4 - 2007 Reaffirmation Teams
The governing board is free from undue influence from political, religious, or other external bodies, and protects the institution from such influence.
The University of Texas System (UT System) Board of Regents acts independent of undue influence and protects The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) from undue influence by political, religious, and other external bodies. The Board of Regents is the authorized governing board for the UT Dallas, as designated by Section 65.11 of the Texas Education Code (TEC) . Each Board member is appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. The ten board members (including a newly designated Student Regent) serve staggered terms and are chosen from across the State to ensure adequate geographical and demographical distribution. As officers of the State, Board members must abide by Section 572.001 of the Texas Government Code (TGC) which forbids “any obligation of any nature that is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge…of duties in the public interest .” Section 572.001 also prohibits Board members from having direct or indirect financial interest in business transactions involving the Board or institutions under the supervision of the Board and sets forth standards of conduct and disclosure. Therefore, UT System publishes biographical information, including information regarding employment, about each Board member on its website           . Board members are reimbursed for legitimate expenses per TEC Section 65.14 , but they are not paid for their service on the Board.
To ensure further transparency and undue influence of the Board of Regents’ actions, the Board operates in accordance with Chapter 551 of the TGC regarding open meetings conducted by governmental bodies. Actions of the Board are also subject to the Open Records Act , and UT System posts both the agenda items for each meeting  and the minutes from each meeting  on its website.
The UT System has established its own rules and regulations to ensure transparent, ethical behavior of its officers and employees, including the Board. Series 30103 of the UT System Board of Regents’ Rules and Regulations establishes the standards of conduct that restrict sitting on outside boards and running for political office . Series 30103 also covers other political activities and use of UT System property. As discussed in the response to Principle 3.2.3  Series 30104 assures that there are no conflicts of interests and that the Board acts in the public, rather than private, interest. The policy also requires written disclosure and adherence “to the laws, rules, regulations, and policies of applicable governmental and institutional authorities…. Failure to do so may be grounds for disciplinary action, including termination .” Board members are also required to abide by the UT System Ethics Standards as outlined in Series 20501 for accounting, operating budget, and legislative appropriation requests . Series 20701 regarding the use of historically underutilized businesses states that “the U. T. System has a compelling interest to assure that procurement funds always are expended in an equal-business-opportunity context. To meet that obligation, the Board of Regents delegates to the chancellor the responsibility for establishing and maintaining procurement systems and procedures that is [sic] nondiscriminatory with respect to race, color, religion, sex, or national origin .” The UT System has spelled out in more detail what the System holds to be ethical behavior in its publication, Ethics and The University of Texas System: A Brief Practical Guide, which discusses conflicts of interest with regards to gifts, outside employment, and the release of confidential information .
Section 51.352 of the TEC sets forth the responsibilities of the Board and directly and clearly addresses the issue of undue influence with regards to component institutions. Each governing board “is expected to preserve institutional independence and to defend its right to manage its own affairs through its chosen administrators and employees .” Furthermore, TEC Section 65.11 requires that the Board ensures that the UT System institutions, including UT Dallas, “achieve…maximum operating efficiency….” The minutes of Board meetings demonstrate that the institutions in the UT System are free from undue influence .