During the Jan. 18 NSHE Board of Regents meeting, several regents questioned the system’s Chief Financial Officer about recent state audits that raised financial spending concerns.
The concerns about student spending surrounded several instances where state institutions move funds from state-funded accounts into “self-supporting” accounts. Auditors claimed that these transfers occurred because of insufficient oversight from the regents.
The audits that were made public during the meeting also questioned two institutions that spent over $6.7 million and three capital construction projects at UNLV and UNR. According to meeting minutes taken from the meeting, regents flagged these projects claiming that they should have been, “overseen by the state public works board.”
NSHE Chief Financial Officer Andrew Clinger advised the regents that these flagged transactions were not in direct violation of the law but instead problematic from a fiscal standpoint because of “legislative intent”.
During this meeting, audit discussions were presented as “information only” since no votes were scheduled.
Much of these audits are a byproduct of bill AB416, which was an effort to originally remove the Board of Regents from the Nevada Constitution. Their removal would transfer more oversight to Nevada’s legislative branch.
A ballot question measure in 2020 titled, “Yes On 1” Nevada worked to create that legislative transfer but failed by a margin of fewer than 3,900 votes. This measure has since been revived as SJR7, which includes new language that relates to legislative audits of NSHE. These increased audits will work to add more oversight to the way that student dollars are spent by the regents.
A new board in 2023
At the December 2022 quarterly meeting, the regents elected Byron Brooks as its new chair and Joe Arrascada as the vice chair of the 13-member board. Both were elected in November 2020 and have had two years of service on the board. They have assumed their new roles since Jan. 1 of this year.