YES on 1 is Important
If approved by Nevada voters on the November 2020 ballot, Question 1 will help improve higher education in our state by increasing accountability, oversight, and transparency, and by modernizing the governance of the Nevada’s System of Higher Education (NSHE). No longer will NSHE and the Board of Regents have unchecked power.
Under Question 1, the Board of Regents will continue to be elected and all administrative duties performed by NSHE and the Board of Regents will continue to be in Nevada’s Revised Statutes (NRS 396.020 and 396.040); Question 1 simply removes NSHE and the Board of Regents from the State Constitution and makes them accountable - just like every other governing board - to the people of Nevada.
YES on 1 Will Increase Accountability,
Oversight, and Transparency
The Board of Regents likes to tout themselves as the fourth branch of government. Time and time again, the regents have hindered, thwarted, and undermined the Legislature’s ability to provide oversight and accountability of higher education. As media reports make clear, this unchecked authority has led to constant scandals, cover ups, and cronyism.1
No other state agency operates without legislative oversight. The Board of Regents should be held to the same level of accountability and oversight that is required from all other governing bodies, such as K-12 Department of Education, Department of Transportation, and the Department of Motor Vehicles. That’s why Nevadans from across the state are coming together to support YES on 1.
YES on 1 Will Modernize Nevada's Outdated Higher Education System
Nevada has benefitted from being one of the fastest growing states in the past few decades; however, the state has struggled to adapt its governance and infrastructure to best meet the needs of an expanding and diversifying Western state.
Nevada is the only state where a single elected board governs all universities, colleges, and community colleges. Other states long ago modernized their governance of higher education to reflect the differing missions of their colleges and universities and the evolving needs of their states.
Antiquated constitutional provisions dating back to 1864 are not what should be dictating higher education policy in the 21st century. Our inability to be nimble and adapt to the state’s changing needs has led to a loss of confidence in higher education by our business and philanthropic leaders.2 This means fewer resources for our students and fewer partnerships with private industry, imperiling both the access to higher education and the capacity of our state’s higher education institutions to develop and diversify Nevada’s economy. When college and university presidents try to advocate for their students, they are often pushed out, resulting in instability and a “revolving door” of campus leaders.
YES on 1 Will be a Check on Nevada's System Which is Expensive and Unmanageable
Nevada spends $1 billion on higher education each year, and among the 50 states, Nevada ranks 16th in per-student funding.3 However, Nevada is 46th in college attainment.4 The graduation rates at all of Nevada’s colleges are below the national average. At the College of Southern Nevada, fewer than 10 percent of students graduate on time.5
NSHE and the Board of Regents are funded by our taxpayer dollars, yet they go unchecked and are out of control. Mismanagement by an unaccountable Board of Regents has held back our universities and community colleges. The Board of Regents have squandered millions of public dollars on their own pet projects – wasting money and putting the burden on the citizens of Nevada and on the backs of students. Not to mention their $26 million-dollar budget is larger than any other similarly sized state and is more than they give most of our colleges. 6
A state like Virginia, with more than five times as many colleges and universities as Nevada, manages its higher education system with fewer than 60 employees.7 In Nevada, there are more than 200 system-level employees for just eight higher education institutions.8 It’s time for change - Nevadans deserve better.
YES on 1 Will Put the Focus on
Students and Our Economy
Nevada has remained tethered to an outdated higher education structure. Our inability to be nimble and meet the needs of the community has led to a loss of confidence in higher education by our business and philanthropic leaders. This means less resources for our students, which imperils both the access to higher education and the capacity of our State’s higher education institutions to serve students, from universities to community colleges, to develop and diversify Nevada’s economy. The inability to attract and keep top-rated leadership has burdened the State with millions in extravagant salaries for chancellors, university presidents, and other executives, who only stay for a few years and leave with millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded severance packages.9
YES is the Right Choice for Nevada's Universities and Community Colleges
The current system has failed. YES on 1 changes the outdated structure and makes the regents accountable to the legislature that funds them – like every other government agency in Nevada. We need the accountability, transparency, and modernization to move Nevada forward and meet the challenges of the 21st century. YES on 1 is supported by a diverse and bi-partisan coalition of Nevadans who care about higher education. Please vote YES on 1 this November to move Nevada forward.
1 (Bruzda 2017) (Barnes 2016) (Barnes 2015) (Klaich 2016) (Barnes 2014) (Las Vegas Review-Journal 2019); 2 (Bruzda 2018) (Rindels 2018); 3 ( Nevada System of Higher Education 2020) (State Higher Education Executive Officers Association 2020); 4 (United States Census Bureau 2020); 5 (Nevada System of Higher Education 2020); 6 (Nevada System of Higher Education 2020); 7 (State Council for Higher Education for Virginia 2020); 8 (Morrison 2014) (Lang, Damore and Brown Jr. 2018); 9 (Barnes 2016)