MOTION:          By Regent Mercer                                              January 16-17, 2003

 

FREEDOM OF SPEECH

 

            WHEREAS the Board of Regents speaks by its actions and often its inactions;

 

            WHEREAS the actions and inactions of the Board should be clearly presented to the state legislature by the Commissioner and anyone else speaking for the Montana University System and the Board of Regents;

 

            WHEREAS the Board values and respects the open and free exchange of ideas, academic freedom, and the independent thinking and expertise of administrators, faculty, staff, and students;

 

            WHEREAS the Commissioner of Higher Education via e-mail dated December 17, 2002, a copy of which is set forth below, seeks to prevent the Presidents and employees of the Montana University System from expressing their views to the Montana Legislature;

 

            WHEREAS the Board expressly rejects this policy or approach to the Montana Legislature that seeks to muzzle the employees of the Montana University System by silencing their views with a single voice;

 

            NOW THEREFORE, the Board hereby directs that the official actions and inactions of the Board of Regents shall be made known to the Legislature by the Board, the Commissioner or their designees.  That the e-mail issued by the Commissioner of Higher Education on December 17, 2002, the text of which is set forth below, is hereby rescinded to the extent that it seeks to prohibit the Presidents and employees of the Montana University System from expressing their views to the Montana Legislature.  The Board further directs that when the Presidents and employees choose to express their views to the Montana Legislature they disclose to the Legislature the views they are expressing are there own.

 

 

From: "Crofts, Richard" <RCrofts@oche.montana.edu>

Subject: Legislative liaison

To: "Geoff Gamble (E-mail)" <ggamble@montana.edu>, "George (E-mail)" <dennisongm@mso.umt.edu>

Cc: "Sundsted, Rod" <RSundsted@oche.montana.edu>, !Board of Regents <regents@oche.montana.edu>, Arlene <aparisot@oche.montana.edu>,  "Glen (E-mail)" <gleavitt@oche.montana.edu>, "Joyce (E-mail)" <jscott@oche.montana.edu>, "Laurie (E-mail)" <lneils@oche.montana.edu>,  "LeRoy (E-mail)" <lschramm@oche.montana.edu>, "Mary (E-mail)" <mcraigle@oche.montana.edu>, "Rod (E-mail)" <rsundsted@oche.montana.edu>,  "Sherry (E-mail)" <srosette@oche.montana.edu>, "Sue (E-mail)" <shill@oche.montana.edu>, "Alex Capdeville (E-mail)" <capdevillea@msun.edu>, "Frank (E-mail)" <fgilmore@mtech.edu>,  "Geoff Gamble (E-mail)" <ggamble@montana.edu>, "George (E-mail)" <dennisongm@mso.umt.edu>, "Mary Moe (E-mail)" <mmoe@msugf.edu>,  "Ron Sexton (E-mail)" <rsexton@msubillings.edu>, "Steve (E-mail)" <s_hulbert@wmc.edu>, "Steve Hoyle (E-mail)" <hoyles@hct.umt.edu>

 

George and Geoff:

 

The purpose of this email is to remind you and others that the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education will continue to have full responsibility for the central coordination and leadership of our legislative efforts.  We will continue to everything possible to ensure that the university system

speaks with a single voice and message during the upcoming legislative session.  To that end, I am also informing you that I have today appointed Rod Sundsted as the legislative liaison for the Office of the Commissioner.  Rod has full authority to act on my behalf in my absence.  I know that you and your staff will give him your fullest cooperation.  In accordance with the plan the Regents endorsed after the 2001 legislative session, Rod will also be representing the Office of the Commissioner at the Capitol on a

daily basis during the legislative session.  We will also be relying heavily on the two university lobbyists, Bill Johnstone and Cathy Conover, to represent the MUS as well as the two universities.

 

If you have any questions, please give me a call.

 

Dick Crofts