On January 27th we received a constituent concern about how the money raised from the 1890 land grant to WSU are expended. These lands were originally expropriated from tribal nations. This concern has been raised previously including in senate and during meetings between the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and the President and Provost. Provost Chilton and Vice President Stacy Pearson offered the following specific responses to the posted concern from January.
Faculty Senate Chair
Note: Questions from the post are in bold and responses are italicized.
In reference to how WSU expends funds form the Agricultural College Permanent Account and the WSU Bond Retirement Account:
- Are there certain expenses that, by law, can or cannot be covered with these two accounts, or does the administration have full discretion over how the land grant revenue is spent? The law explicitly states how the endowment lands are managed for the benefit of the University. Management of these lands, legal responsibilities, and the process to appropriate proceeds for the WSU capital budget and bond retirement fund are defined. Please see the link for details.
- What percentage of this multi-million dollar annual revenue stream goes to directly support Native American students, staff, and faculty each year? These funds are only appropriated to WSU for capital; they are not under the University’s discretion to cover operating expenses. My understanding is that this would require a statutory and perhaps a constitutional change. We have asked the Attorney General’s office to review the legal aspects of this, are assembling a longer history of the funds received, and an allocation from these endowments.
Finally, I’d like to add that Zoe Higheagle Strong, Executive Director of Tribal Relations/Special Assistant to the Provost and Executive Vice President; is assembling a small working group to develop a proposal for how to address the larger context of the “Land Grab” research. This research and an expanding partnership with Native peoples and students have been the topic of previous discussions among CAS leadership, under the direction of Dean Todd Butler. –Elizabeth Chilton, Provost and Executive Vice President; WSU Pullman Chancellor