Odd Regent's ceremonial vote against tuition hikes doesn't prevent tuition hikes
The price of college tuition has increased at a rate three times as fast as inflation over the last thirty years. So what are the Regents at Michigan's public universities doing about it? Not much of anything except casting the occasional election year vote against tuition hikes that are sure to pass anyway, reports the Detroit Free Press.
Freep: It is not uncommon for members of the governing boards at Michigan's public universities to disagree with one another and with administrators over the size of tuition increases.
But those disagreements generally occur behind closed doors, in phone conversations and via e-mail.
By the time board members get to their public meetings, they generally are in lockstep and just rubber-stamp agreements made weeks, days or even hours before the public first hears about the proposed increase.
The [Open Meetings Act] does not contain a "voting requirement" or any form of "formal voting requirement." A "consensus building process" that equates to decision-making would fall under the act. For example, where board members use telephone calls or sub-quorum meetings to achieve the same intercommunication that could have been achieved in a full board or commission meeting, the members' conduct is susceptible to "round-the-horn" decision-making, which achieves the same effect as if the entire board had met publicly and formally cast its votes. A "round-the-horn" process violates the OMA.
You can totally believe that symbolic votes against tuition hikes by one or two Board of Regent members are sincere efforts to fight rising tuition costs. These efforts will surely curtail the educational-industrial complex's hyperinflation. -- JTW