AGO 84-22.

Case Date:November 28, 1984
Court:Colorado
 
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Colorado Attorney General Opinions 1984. AGO 84-22. November 28, 1984Department of Law Attorney General Opinion FORMAL OPINION of DUANE WOODARD Attorney General Opinion No. 84-22 AG Alpha No. LE HR AGANQ Representative Paul Schauer Colorado House of Representatives State Capitol Denver, CO 80203 RE: Constitutional impediments to legislative action concerning the reorganization of higher education in ColoradoDear Representative Schauer: In your letter of September 4, 1984 you asked four questions regarding constitutional impediments to legislative action concerning the reorganization of higher education in Colorado. The questions and my conclusions are as follows: QUESTIONS PRESENTED AND CONCLUSIONS To what extent could legislation be enacted to reorganize the governance system of higher education, notwithstanding the listing of institutions and the specific reference to the regents of the University of Colorado in article VIII, section 5? My conclusion is that the general assembly has broad authority to enact legislation to reorganize the governance system of higher education. In my opinion, article VIII, section 5 of the Colorado Constitution establishes ultimate authority for the governance of institutions of higher education in the general assembly, with the exception that the right to control the medical center at Denver is reserved in the board of regents. Could any of the institutions under the regents, with their facilities, faculty, administration, and students, be made a part of a governance system apart from the regents without specific constitutional changes being made in section 5 of article VIII? My conclusion is "yes." Could additional institutions be placed under the jurisdiction of the board of regents by statute, without amending the constitution to add that campus to the authority of the regents? My conclusion is "yes." Could a board be created by statute to have authority over the role and mission of the campuses of the University of Colorado including the power to initiate or to terminate academic and support programs? My conclusion is "yes." Although the internal affairs of the University of Colorado remain within the exclusive control of the regents, the general assembly has broad authority to plan and manage state educational programs. ANALYSIS Article VIII, section 5 of the Colorado Constitution was a referred bill from the general assembly and was submitted to the electorate as amendment 4 on the 1972 ballot. The section reads as follows: (1) The following educational institutions are declared to be state institutions of higher education: The university at Boulder, Colorado Springs, and Denver; the university at Fort Collins; the school of mines at Golden; and such other institutions of higher education as now exist or may hereafter be established by law if they are designated by law as state institutions. The establishment, management, and abolition of the state institutions shall be subject to the control of the state, under the provisions of the constitution and such laws and regulations as the general assembly may provide; except that the regents of the university at Boulder, Colorado Springs and Denver may, whenever in their judgement the needs of that institution demand such action, establish, maintain, and conduct all or any part of the schools of medicine, dentistry, nursing, and pharmacy of the university, together with hospitals and supporting facilities and programs related to health, at Denver; and further, that nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent state educational institutions from giving temporary lecture courses in any part of the state, or conducting class excursions for the purpose of investigation and study; and provided further, that subject to prior approval by the general assembly, nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the state institutions of higher education from hereafter establishing, maintaining, and conducting or disconducting centers, medical centers, or branches of such institutions in any part of the...

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