Comprehensive Standard 3.2.5: Board Dismissal
The governing board has a policy whereby members can be dismissed only for appropriate reasons and by a fair process.
Members of the University of South Florida (USF) Board of Trustees (BOT) and USF Sarasota-Manatee Campus Board members, as public officers, are subject to Florida law governing the suspension, removal, or retirement of public officers, and may be dismissed only for appropriate reasons and by a fair process. No USF Board of Trustees member or USF Sarasota-Manatee Campus Board member has been dismissed to date.
University Boards of Trustees are a part of the executive branch of State of Florida government (FL 1001.71(3)). The Constitution of the State of Florida, Article IV, Section 7, establishes the methods for removal of trustees. By executive order stating the grounds, the Governor may suspend from office any trustee (as a state officer not subject to impeachment) for “malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, drunkenness, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties, or commission of a felony, and may fill the office by appointment for the period of suspension.” The Governor may reinstate a suspended trustee any time before removal.
To implement this constitutional provision, the Florida Senate must act according to a comprehensive, specified process if it wishes to permanently remove, suspend, retire, or reinstate a public official. This process, as defined in Title X, Part V, Florida Statutes 112.40 through 112.52, provides for sufficient notice in advance to the suspended official of the time and place for a hearing before the Senate itself, a select committee, or a special master or examiner in order to “afford such official an opportunity fully and adequately to prepare such defenses as the official may be advised are necessary.” The official is entitled to present those defenses individually or through an attorney at a complete hearing, public in nature (FS 112.47).
In addition, according to FS 112.52,
When a method for removal from office is not otherwise provided by the State Constitution or by law, the Governor of the State of Florida may by executive order suspend from office an elected or appointed public official, who is indicted or informed against for commission of any felony or for any misdemeanor arising directly out of his or her official conduct or duties, and may fill the office by appointment for the period of suspension, not to extend beyond the term.
Because the BOT does not have the authority to dismiss its members, it does not have a BOT-issued policy on dismissal of members. However, the BOT has the duty to notify “the Board of Governors (BOG) or the Governor, as applicable, in writing whenever a member has three consecutive unexcused absences from regular board meetings in any fiscal year.” Such unexcused absences may be grounds for removal (BOG Regulation 1.001(2b)).
SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION AND EVIDENCE