Divided Loyalties: Conflicts of Interest in the Boardroom | Paul Fain, Thomas Bartlett, and Marc Beja | Chronicle of Higher Education | 19 March, 2010
Trustees are a university’s ultimate decision makers. Whether approving a building project or directing endowment money, they profoundly affect everyone on the campus. In making those choices, trustees are supposed to be concerned only with what is best for the institution.But what happens when a trustee also has a business relationship with the university?A Chronicle investigation of 618 private colleges found that one in four have financial ties with trustee-affiliated companies. These relationships are common at both small liberal-arts colleges and large research universities. The connections, ranging from a few thousand dollars’ worth of business to multimillion-dollar contracts, involve banks, law firms, construction companies, and insurance conglomerates.