By Jenna A. Robinson
University foundations seem to be an integral part of any modern university. They raise funds, pay for amenities or services the university couldn’t otherwise afford, and buy, sell and lease property without the difficulties of being a public entity.
But a new article for the Pope Center reveals that such autonomy can sometimes be problematic—because these foundations are not held accountable to the public.
Dan Way explains:
The UNC System is flush with foundations that raise money for their associated universities, and researchers who have looked at these types of organizations on a national level have called them “slush funds” and “shadow corporations” that too often operate in secrecy, despite spending taxpayers’ money.
In most states, university foundations are not subject to public records law. In North Carolina, the law is unclear.
Way cites David Cuillier, co-author of the book The Art of Access: Strategies for Acquiring Public Records: “Foundations have allowed universities to hide ‘wrongdoing, and questionable expenditures’ because foundations usually aren’t subject to public records laws, and may not comply with them in states where they are.”
More transparency seems to be the solution. Read the article here.
Jenna Robinson is president of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.