The governing board is free from undue influence from political, religious or other external bodies, and protects the institution from such influence. (External influence)

Compliance Judgment

X     In compliance     Partially compliant     Non-compliant


The Bylaws of the Board of Trustees charges the Board “To protect the academic environment of the University from improper pressure or interference adversely affecting the functions of scholarship, teaching, and learning; to assure the academic freedom of faculty and students” [1].

A major protection which prevents the Board from being affected by outside influences is that a substantial number of people would have to be influenced. The Francis Marion Board of Trustees is constituted according to SC Code of Laws Section 59-133-10. Board of Trustees [2]. Specifically:

  • it is composed of seventeen members:
  • the Governor of the state or his designee;
  • fifteen members elected by the General Assembly;
  • an appointee of the Governor;
  • and the rules set forth in the Bylaws of the Board of Trustees require that a substantial number of the Trustees must be involved in any formal decision made by the Board:
  1. A quorum for the transaction of business at meetings of the Board consists of a majority of the members.
  2. Each member of the Board of Trustees has one vote on all matters that require a formal recording of votes.
  3. Proxy voting is not be permitted when members are absent from the meeting.
  4. All meetings of the Board and its committees are conducted in accordance with Robert’s’ Rules of Order – Revised/or Deliberative Assemblies.
  5. All actions taken by the Executive Committee in the interim between meetings of the Board shall be reported promptly to the Board by the Secretary and thereafter ratified by the full Board.
  6. Certain actions may not be taken by the Executive Committee:
    1. Elect officers of the Board
    2. Appoint or remove the president
    3. Change the institutional mission or purposes of the University.
    4. Take any final action on any question radically affecting the indebtedness, the tangible property, the operating budget, or the general policies of the University.
    5. Any amendments to the Bylaws require a “vote of two-thirds of the members present at a meeting of the Board, those voting to amend being also a majority of the entire Board” [3].

Other safeguards include the following:

  • South Carolina Code of Laws Title 8 – Public Officers and Employees. Chapter 13. Ethics, Government Accountability, and Campaign Reform establishes rules for the conduct of public employees, public officeholders, and public members of boards and commissions relative to conflicts of interest. Implicit in these rules is the tenet that public officials would not exert undue influence on any state agency.
  • All meetings of the Board are open to the public
  • Vesting of duties in the President which require him:

To represent the University in its relationships with related associations, other institutions, the news media, governmental agencies, alumni, and the general public; to assure the effectiveness of communications among internal constituencies of the University on matters of shared concern; to assure the effectiveness of communication between the University and its external constituencies; to serve as the chief spokesperson of the University and to represent the University and the Board of Trustees to the public, interpreting the goals and values of the University to the community and also bringing back to the University information concerning community needs and how the University might meet those needs [4].

The President would inform the Board if actions which were suggested by an external source could be detrimental to the University.

There are no examples of pressure from external forces to present in this document; however, one precautionary measure which has been taken is to develop a Naming of Facilities Policy which describes the policy and procedure for the naming of University property in honor of a corporation or individual [5]. This policy is discussed with new Board members during their orientation sessions [6]. Other duties and responsibilities are also covered during the orientation [7].


  1. FMU Website, Board Bylaws
  2. SC Code of Laws 59-133
  3. FMU Website, Board Bylaws
  4. FMU Website, Board Bylaws
  5. Naming of Facilities Policy
  6. Orientation Session July 2013
  7. Orientation Session May 2016