Ruiz, Cunningham Bill to Require Training for College Board Members Clears Senate

Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senate Education Chair M. Teresa Ruiz, and Senate Higher Education Chair Sandra Cunningham, which would require training for members of college governing boards, cleared the Senate today.

“Board members are not only entrusted with steering an institution towards a sustainable future, but they also have vast influence in how things are run,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “From finances to rule enforcement to selection of personnel, board members provide oversight, manage funds and ensure that operations are running smoothly. By requiring every board member to receive the appropriate training, we are actively ensuring that our higher education institutions are prepared to make sound fiscal decisions that are in the best interest of their students and our state.”

The bill, S-970, would require members of governing boards at public institutions of higher education to complete a training program developed or approved by the Secretary of Higher Education within the first six months of their appointment.

“These are the boards that set the institutions’ agendas, approve student fee increases and greenlight multimillion dollar research projects and capital improvements,” said Senator Cunningham (D-Hudson).  “It makes sense that we should ensure that the board members fully understand all aspects of their undertakings and make sound, ethical choices.”

The training would include governance responsibilities, ethical standards, due diligence, the requirements of the “Senator Byron M. Baer Open Public Meetings Act,” and the open public records law. It would also include issues associated with law and privacy, and board member responsibilities among other things.

The bill cleared Senate today by a vote of 39-0.