The Ohio State Office of Legal Affairs will help review members and provide legal assistance to new appointments to the Board of Trustees, as described in a new code of conduct discussed on Thursday.
Christopher Culley, senior vice president and general counsel of Legal Affairs, presented the new statement of ethical conduct and leadership integrity to the board at its Thursday meeting. The board will decide whether to ratify the code on Friday.
The board approached Culley’s office last year asking for a review of their policies, particularly regarding conflicts of interest and ethics.
Although the ethics laws of Ohio apply to the board as a whole, it cannot be held over non-committee appointed members or affiliate committees.
“The committee asked us to review the best practices within the industry that would apply across the board, to all the subunits, as well as the proper board,” Culley said.
University trustees will be required to annually acknowledge the filing of their financial disclosure statements with the Ohio Ethics Commission.
The new code also emphasizes that members should clearly avoid any conflicts of interest, which now has a clear and common definition in the code of conduct.
“It also provides for optional protocols and tools to assist trustees and members,” Culley said.
The compliance office of the university will assist the board with this ethics code in mind.
Jeffrey Wadsworth, chairman of the board, said that he wants to create two new committees within the board, the first being a talent and compensation committee. He said that this would make the board’s compensation practices competitive with national corporate practices.
The second committee proposed by Wadsworth was a master planning and facilities committee, which would work on OSU’s campus transportation plan.
“The work of the board has grown significantly over the last several years,” Wadsworth said. “These two committees will allow us to focus on two pressing needs.”
Wadsworth, who is the CEO of Battelle, also presented two candidates for non-trustee appointments to the Advancement Committee.
“These appointments will allow us to bring outside expertise to the work of our committees,” Wadsworth said.
The first candidate is Samira Beckwith, an OSU alumna who has served as the CEO of Hope Healthcare Services for more than two decades.
The second candidate is Wendy’s Chief Marketing Officer Craig Bahner, who recieved his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Fisher College of Business.
“He’s truly an outstanding marketer,” said trustee member G. Gilbert Cloyd, who worked with Bahner previously at Procter & Gamble. “We are a university right now establishing a branding program, and he’s going to be a tremendous addition to the Advancement Committee.”
Undergraduate trustee member Stacie Seger, a fourth-year in agricultural communication, also updated the board on the selection process for new undergraduate trustee members, who serve two-year terms.
The application closes on Feb. 27, and a group of nine students will review the applications and narrow them down to less than 30 candidates, one of whom will replace Seger at the end of her term later this year.
The candidates will be interviewed on April 11, and three to five names will be sent to the governor’s office for the final decision, Seger said.