University of Rhode Island [See Title 16 Chapter 97 – The Rhode Island Board of Education Act]

SECTION 16-32-2

§ 16-32-2. Board of Trustees established. [Effective February 1, 2020.]

(a) There is hereby created a board of trustees for the university of Rhode Island, sometimes referred to as the "board" or "board of trustees," which shall be and is constituted a public corporation, empowered to sue and be sued in its own name; to borrow money; to compromise and settle claims; to have a seal; and to make and execute contracts and other instruments necessary or convenient to the exercise of its powers; and to exercise all the powers, in addition to those specifically enumerated in this chapter, usually appertaining to public corporations entrusted with control of postsecondary educational institutions and functions. Upon its organization, the board shall be vested with the legal title to all property, real and personal, now owned by and/or under the control or in the custody of the council on postsecondary education for the use of the university of Rhode Island, including all its departments, divisions, and branches, sometimes referred to as the property.

(b) The board is empowered to hold and operate the property in trust for the state; to acquire, hold, and dispose of the property and other like property as deemed necessary for the execution of its corporate purposes. The board is made successor to all powers, rights, duties, and privileges for the university of Rhode Island formerly belonging to the council on postsecondary education pertaining to postsecondary education and the board of governors for higher education.

(c) The board shall be the employer of record for the university. It shall retain all authority formerly vested in the council on postsecondary education and the board of education regarding the employment of faculty and staff at the university of Rhode Island. The board shall appoint the president of the university and shall review their performance on an annual basis.

(1) The board is empowered to enter into contracts and agreements with the council on postsecondary education and/or the department of administration related to employee benefits, including but not limited to retirement benefits, health, dental, vision and life insurance, disability insurance, workers' compensation, and tuition waivers to maximize the state's and university's purchasing and investment portfolio and educational opportunities for the benefit of its employees.

(2) The board is empowered to enter into collective bargaining agreements as appropriate with its employees and all existing collective bargaining agreements in effect when the board is established pursuant to § 16-32-2.2 shall be transferred from the council on postsecondary education to the board.

(d) The board shall make rules and regulations for the control and use of all public properties and highways under its care, and for violations of those rules and regulations; penalties, up to one hundred dollars ($100) and costs for any one offense, may be imposed by any district court or police court in the city or town where the violation occurs; and, in general, the board shall take all actions necessary for the proper execution of the powers and duties granted to, and imposed upon, the board by the terms of this chapter.

(e) The board shall make rules and regulations pursuant to chapter 2 of title 37 to implement its responsibilities as a public agency for procurement purposes as defined in § 37-2-7(16).

(f) The board shall evaluate data on which to base performance of the university as described in subsection (g) of this section which shall be defined by the president of the university. These measures may include and incorporate outcomes or goals from multiple, previous years. The lack of information from previous years, however, will not affect the use of performance-based measures.

(g) The university of Rhode Island shall have unique measures consistent with its purpose, role, scope, and mission. The board shall provide faculty and students an opportunity to provide input on the development of performance measures.

(1) The performance-based measures shall include, but not be limited to, the following metrics:

(i) The number and percentage, including growth in relation to enrollment and prior years of bachelor's degrees awarded to first-time, full-time students within four (4) years and six (6) years, including summer graduates;

(ii) The number of degrees awarded that are tied to Rhode Island's high demand, high-wage employment opportunities consistent with the institution's mission;

(iii) One metric that applies only to the university, in consultation with the president, which shall consider faculty, staff, and student input; and

(iv) Any other metrics that are deemed appropriate by the board.

(2) Weight may be assigned to any of the aforementioned metrics to reinforce the mission of the university, the economic needs of the state, and the socio-economic status of the students.

(h) The board shall hold the university accountable for developing and implementing transfer pathways for students from the community college of Rhode Island and Rhode Island college.

(i) The board shall supervise, coordinate, and/or authorize audits, civil and administrative investigations, and inspections or oversight reviews, when necessary, relating to expenditure of state or federal funds, or to any and all university programs and operations, as well as the procurement of any supplies, services, or construction, by the university. In the course of an audit or investigation, the board authorized auditor(s) shall review statutes and regulations of the university and shall determine if the university is in compliance and shall make recommendations concerning the efficiency of operations, and the effect of such statutes or regulations on internal controls and the prevention and detection of fraud, waste, and abuse. The board authorized auditor(s) may recommend policies or procedures that may strengthen internal controls, or assist in the prevention or detection of fraud, waste, and abuse or mismanagement. Any audits conducted shall be transmitted to the office of internal audit established in chapter 7.1 of title 35.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1951, ch. 2686, § 4; G.L. 1956, § 16-32-2; P.L. 1988, ch. 84, § 53; P.L. 2019, ch. 88, art. 9, § 3.)