Jeanine Dakduk's Statement on Endorsements
I pledged at the start of my campaign not to seek partisan endorsements. I have since expanded my pledge to include organizational endorsements.
I subscribe to the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) Principles of Trusteeship. Principle four says to lead with “impeccable integrity.” It further encourages board members to put the system “ahead of your personal preferences and political allegiances.” Endorsement questionnaires, even if nonpartisan, are framed to encourage a personal stance on a particular topic.
A Regent needs to review the proposals from the Chancellor and their team to make informed decisions on policy. To take a stance now is premature. The issues change. The environment evolves. A Regent must be impartial, not beholden to campaign promises.
Principle five is to think independently and act collectively. To ensure independence, AGB emphasizes that board members must speak up on important issues, even if they are uncomfortable or unpopular.
For example, it is uncomfortable and highly unpopular for any candidate or sitting Regent to say they support tuition increases. One of 20 questions asked on the Nevada Faculty Alliance’s (NFA) endorsement questionnaire relates to tuition. While unpopular, tuition increases are historically inevitable. Inflation is real. State funding fluctuates. Low compensation for faculty and staff, lack of competitiveness in the marketplace, and outdated infrastructure are serious issues if tuition remains flat.
Regardless, any change to tuition and fees requires careful analysis. Understanding the context of a proposed tuition change matters. I am not interested in garnering votes or support with false promises of freezing tuition and fees.
I want to be clear though, NFA's input is most welcome. The same goes for other groups. The Chancellor, other elected officials, government entities, faculty, students, and the community will have a viewpoint. Sometimes, stakeholders are aligned on issues. More often, division surfaces from a variety of thoughts. The Board should see the validity and the shortcomings of all sides. Then, the Board should make a sound decision based on what is best for the system, not just their districts or alma maters.
Let me end with a question that remains ever-present in my mind, especially since the start of my campaign: How can a candidate for Regent claim to be impartial if they seek endorsements that ingratiate themselves with certain groups?