The nature of trusteeship
The authority and fiduciary responsibilities of the trustees arise exclusively from their participation with other members of the governing board when it is officially convened. Individual trustees have no legal authority, nor are they entitled to special privileges.
The Indiana code assigns responsibilities to the board. As IU has grown over time, so have these responsibilities expanded in size and scope. By the mid-1980s, IU’s trustees were spending inordinate amounts of time reviewing and acting upon managerial and administrative actions.
Delegation of authority
Adopted September 11, 1987 - Amended December 4, 2020 and December 2, 2022
WHEREAS, the Board of Trustees (the “Board”) of Indiana University (the “University”) has the authority, duty and responsibility to establish, to clarify, and to amend from time to time, the policies of the University and the President of the University has the duty, responsibility and authority to manage and administer the University in accordance with such Board policies, the authority delegated to the President by the Board and all applicable law,
WHEREAS, the President, as the educational leader of the University, has the further responsibility of presenting to the Board recommended policies of the University for consideration and action by the Board and at all times attempts to keep the Board appropriately advised,
WHEREAS, the Board has determined it should focus its primary attention on substantial policy issues of the University, presented to the Board by the President, members of the Board and others,
WHEREAS, for the Board to give full consideration to policies that are of a substantial and continuing value to the University, it is desirable that the President should be delegated explicit authority by the Board to manage, and administer the University and establish routine administrative procedures of the University, and
WHEREAS, it is desirable that such authority be formally delegated to the President:
Now, therefore, be it:
- RESOLVED, that the Board hereby delegates to the President the authority of the Board, including as permitted by Indiana Code 21-38-3-2. The Authority so delegated shall include that conferred by the Indiana Code and other authority granted to the Board by other statutes or implied thereby, but subject to the exceptions and conditions stated in this Resolution.
- FURTHER RESOLVED, that the following exceptions limit the delegation of authority hereby granted the President and will continue to be accomplished by Board action:
- The organization of the Board and selection of its officers and committees;
- Setting of tuition which shall include room and board and student fees;
- Appointment to membership upon corporate boards specifically providing for Indiana University representation;
- Adoption of any Resolution of the Board specifically required by statute (such as upon the sale of surplus real property), and of bond resolutions;
- Approval by the Compensation Committee of all hiring or appointments to positions of Provost, Chancellor, Vice President, Athletic Director of the Bloomington Campus, as well as approval by the full Board of Trustees of the appointment and promotion to tenured faculty positions and titled Professors;
- Approval of all hiring of all athletic coaches who will be paid more than the dollar amount to be designated annually by the Trustees in writing to the President, prior to offer letters being sent;
- Approval of salary, increases, performance bonuses, or other forms of compensation for the President and those head coaches making more than a dollar amount designated annually in writing by the Trustees to the President;
- Approval of the number and timing of Board of Trustees meetings as well as the agenda for those meetings;
- Approval of programs and other transactions of the University that require approval of the Higher Education Commission, Governor, or State Budget Agency, including the creation of new schools;
- Adoption of a budget for the University, or of an appropriation request, or of any material revision to the budget;
- Statutory processing of conflict of interest disclosure statements, and prior approval of the President accepting a paying position on a board or for paid consulting work;
- Changes in the governance structure of a campus;
- Approval of the University strategic plan and, where appropriate, providing comment and input prior to the President's submission of the strategic plan for approval;
- Approval of any plan of layoff or reduction in force involving more than 50 employees in any six (6) month period, not including employees whose jobs routinely include short term furloughs such as over the summer months or over the December holidays;
- Approval of all honorary degrees, before such degrees are conferred;
- Such other matters as the board may from time to time adopt.
- FURTHER RESOLVED, that the President is granted such authority by the Board to develop documents, execute contracts and agreements in behalf of the University or authorize others to do so in his stead, and promulgate and distribute notification of policies and to perform such other acts reasonably necessary and convenient to fulfill the purposes of this Resolution.
- FURTHER RESOLVED, that the President shall, and cause others to, manage and administer the University in accordance with the policies and resolutions adopted by the Board and all applicable laws and keep the Board appropriately advised.
- FURTHER RESOLVED, that this Resolution may be amended from time to time by the Board.
Trusteeship can impose significant demands on an individual’s time. The board meets four times a year, usually on Thursdays and Fridays, on various IU campuses around the state. Attendance is mandatory. According to state law, “The board of trustees shall declare vacant the seat of any trustee who is absent from two successive meetings of the board of trustees; or guilty of any gross immorality or breach of the bylaws of Indiana University.”
Trustees are expected to participate in special board meetings and committee sessions and to attend major university ceremonies such as Commencement, honorary degree conferrals, and dedications and groundbreakings. Many trustees take a lively interest in the life of the university and choose to attend colloquia, celebratory events, athletic competitions, and alumni activities.
Responsibilities and rewards
The Indiana University board is small, which means that all nine members must become fluent in the vast array of issues pertaining to the institution. Many trustees have said that they devote several hours a week to preparing for meetings and mastering the details of governing Indiana University. The first year of a trustee’s term can present a particularly challenging learning curve.
Most trustees say that the rewards outweigh the challenges, because the position provides an opportunity to give back to the institution that gave each of them so much.