1997 Regular Session
To: Universities and Colleges
By: Representative Walker
House Bill 1297
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 37-101-15, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE FOR OPEN ENROLLMENT AT ALL STATE PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING; TO REQUIRE THAT A MINIMUM STANDARD OF ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AND PROFICIENCY BE ESTABLISHED BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 37-101-15, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-101-15. (a) The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning shall succeed to and continue to exercise control of all records, books, papers, equipment, and supplies, and all lands, buildings, and other real and personal property belonging to or assigned to the use and benefit of the board of trustees formerly supervising and controlling the institutions of higher learning named in Section 37-101-1. The board shall have and exercise control of the use, distribution and disbursement of all funds, appropriations and taxes, now and hereafter in possession, levied and collected, received, or appropriated for the use, benefit, support, and maintenance or capital outlay expenditures of the institutions of higher learning, including the authorization of employees to sign vouchers for the disbursement of funds for the various institutions, except where otherwise specifically provided by law.
(b) The board shall have general supervision of the affairs of all the institutions of higher learning, including the departments and the schools thereof. The board shall have the
power in its discretion to determine who shall be privileged to enter, to remain in, or to graduate therefrom; provided, however, that the board shall not require any resident of this state, as defined in Sections 37-103-7 and 37-103-13, who is a recipient of a high school diploma or its equivalent from a school or program in this state to have taken any standardized college entrance exam or any such equivalent, or to have attained any specific grade point average upon completion of his or her secondary school education as a requirement or qualification for admission into any of the institutions of higher learning set out in Section 37-101-1. The board shall have general supervision of the conduct of libraries and laboratories, the care of dormitories, buildings, and grounds; the business methods and arrangement of accounts and records; the organization of the administrative plan of each institution; and all other matters incident to the proper functioning of the institutions. The board shall have the authority to establish minimum standards of achievement as a prerequisite for entrance into any of the institutions under its jurisdiction, which standards need not be uniform between the various institutions and which may be based upon such criteria as the board may establish; provided, however, that graduates of high schools or high school diploma equivalency programs who are residents of this state, as defined in Sections 37-103-7 and 37-103-13, shall not be required by either the board or any of the various institutions to meet any qualifications, requirements or standards for admission to any of the institutions of higher learning listed in Section 37-101-1 other than that they be residents of this state and have received a high school diploma or its equivalent from a high school or program within this state.
(c) The board shall exercise all the powers and prerogatives conferred upon it under the laws establishing and providing for the operation of the several institutions herein specified. The board shall adopt such bylaws and regulations from time to time as it deems expedient for the proper supervision and control of the several institutions of higher learning, insofar as such bylaws and regulations are not repugnant to the constitution and laws, and not inconsistent with the object for which these institutions were established. The board shall have power and authority to prescribe rules and regulations for policing the campuses and all buildings of the respective institutions, to authorize the arrest of all persons violating on any campus any criminal law of the state, and to have such law violators turned over to the civil authorities.
(d) For all institutions specified herein, the board shall provide a uniform system of recording and of accounting approved by the State Department of Audit. The board shall annually prepare, or cause to be prepared, a budget for each institution of higher learning for the succeeding year which must be prepared and in readiness for at least thirty (30) days before the convening of the regular session of the Legislature. All relationships and negotiations between the state Legislature and its various committees and the institutions named herein shall be carried on through the board of trustees. No official, employee or agent representing any of the separate institutions shall appear before the Legislature or any committee thereof except upon the written order of the board or upon the request of the Legislature or a committee thereof.
(e) For all institutions specified herein, the board shall prepare an annual report to the Legislature setting forth the disbursements of all moneys appropriated to the respective institutions. Each report to the Legislature shall show how the money appropriated to the several institutions has been expended, beginning and ending with the fiscal years of the institutions, showing the name of each teacher, officer, and employee, and the salary paid each, and an itemized statement of each and every item of receipts and expenditures. Each report must be balanced, and must begin with the former balance. If any property belonging to the state or the institution is used for profit, the reports shall show the expense incurred in managing the property and the amount received therefrom. The reports shall also show a summary of the gross receipts and gross disbursements for each year and shall show the money on hand at the beginning of the fiscal period of the institution next preceding each session of the Legislature and the necessary amount of expense to be incurred from said date to January 1 following. The board shall keep the annual expenditures of each institution herein mentioned within the income derived from legislative appropriations and other sources, but in case of emergency arising from acts of providence, epidemics, fire or storm with the written approval of the Governor and by written consent of a majority of the Senators and of the Representatives it may exceed the income. The board shall require a surety bond in a surety company authorized to do business in this state, of every employee who is the custodian of funds belonging to one or more of the institutions mentioned herein, which bond shall be in a sum to be fixed by the board in an amount that will properly safeguard the said funds, the premium for which shall be paid out of the funds appropriated for said institutions.
(f) The board shall have the power and authority to elect the heads of the various institutions of higher learning and to contract with all deans, professors, and other members of the teaching staff, and all administrative employees of said institutions for a term of not exceeding four (4) years. The board shall have the power and authority to terminate any such contract at any time for malfeasance, inefficiency, or contumacious conduct, but never for political reasons. It shall be the policy of the board to permit the executive head of each institution to nominate for election by the board all subordinate employees of the institution over which he presides. It shall be the policy of the board to elect all officials for a definite tenure of service and to reelect during the period of satisfactory service. The board shall have the power to make any adjustments it thinks necessary between the various departments and schools of any institution or between the different institutions.
(g) The board shall keep complete minutes and records of all proceedings which shall be open for inspection by any citizen of the state.
(h) The board shall have the power to contract, on a shared-savings, lease or lease-purchase basis, for energy efficiency services and/or equipment as prescribed in Section 31-7-14, not to exceed ten (10) years.
(i) (Repealed July, 1989.)
(j) (Repealed July 1, 1989.)
(k) Paragraphs (i) and (j) of this section shall stand repealed from and after July 1, 1989.
(l) The board shall require all institutions of higher learning to measure a minimum standard of academic achievement and proficiency expected for all first year students entering the institutions from and after the effective date of this act after their first year in the institutions. The board shall establish the standards which each institution shall be required to measure of each first year student twice in his or her first year; once at the end of each academic semester. The board shall require of the institutions that all students who at the end of their first academic year have not met or surpassed the minimum standard of academic achievement and proficiency established by the board to receive any remedial training, tutoring or additional remediation offered by the institution or be counseled as to other post-secondary education choices and possibilities.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.