The recent tuition increase. Renaming Phelan Hall to Toler Hall. The residence hall currently being built on Lone Mountain. Who gives the stamp of approval, or not, on these big decisions? That would be the USF Board of Trustees.
Considering their influence and power over the University, the Foghorn finds it important to break down what the current board looks like and how, exactly, they serve our school.
What is the board of trustees?
The USF Board of Trustees has the ultimate say on most decisions impacting the entire University. The group is made up of 43 members, 10 of whom are members of the Society of Jesus (in other words, Jesuits), such as President Paul J. Fitzgerald and Timothy S. Godfrey, rector of the USF Jesuit community.
* The Foghorn could not confirm the ages of nine trustees.
THE TOP FIVE INDUSTRIES BOARD MEMBERS HAVE WORKED IN
How do you become a trustee?
When there is a vacancy, board members vote on new members. Candidates, specifically for USF’s board, are usually either one or a mix of the following: an alumnus, a regular donor, a Jesuits, or an expert in education policy, finance, accounting, philanthropy, non-profits or other industry. A trustees’ term lasts three years. They can serve three consecutive terms until having to step down and wait a year until being reelected. A trustee can be removed if the board believes they aren’t doing their job, which requires a two-thirds vote. Trustees also must be at least 18 years of age. (So, don’t get any ideas, young freshman.) Outside of the 43 members, the board also includes four constituent representatives who cannot vote: the alumni, faculty, graduate student and undergraduate student representative.
The vetting and nomination of candidates are handled by the board’s Committee on Trustees, according to Ellen Ryder, vice president of marketing communications. Trustees, both former and current, as well as USF leadership personnel can submit trustee nominations. Candidates are confirmed by simple majority.
What powers do the trustees have?
In addition to electing other trustees, the board also elects, evaluates and can remove the president of the University. Other powers include the ability to decide the overall direction of the University, sign off on the University’s annual budget and “establish policies on financial management, fundraising, investments, property and assets,” according to the board’s website. At full board and committee meetings, Trustees are kept informed by the president and leadership about student government resolutions and other issues.
Ryder also explained the trustees' individual responsibilities. These include sustaining and advancing USF’s “mission, traditions, values, and reputation,” attending individual committee meetings, provide philanthropic support via personal donations as well as finding potential donors, serve as a USF ambassador, and to maintain a required level of confidentiality, among other duties.
To gather the information on this page, the Foghorn searched through public records and information available online, including voting records provided by the city and county of San Francisco. The Foghorn also found information on public social media profiles and the USF Board of Trustees website.
*Editor's Note: The Foghorn incorrectly stated that the board always votes on student government bills. This is incorrect. They are briefed on issues brought forth by student government. Also, the gender graphic incorrectly showed 12 females. There are 13. These mistakes have been corrected and updated.