Our View: Any questions?

DKS editors

It was just another routine, unanimous approval from our Board of Trustees at its Dec. 13 meeting. 

After two minutes of discussion during which only one (relevant) question was asked by the board, it accepted a $1 million donation from Jason Cope, a man who defrauded 190 investors after graduating from our university. The possible consequences of such an action: “There are none,” according to the resolution presented to the board. It obviously lacked any foresight. 

Indeed, two months later, the Stater has not yet found any indication the Board knew anything about Cope’s past. “Fraud” sure wasn’t included in the resolution. 

Morals, facts, contexts and finger-pointing aside, this highlights a critical problem with how business is conducted and policy is implemented at Kent State. 

By definition, the Board is our governing body — independent because the trustees are, supposedly, the experts on the complicated aspects of running a massive organization. We, as the governed, have no power. Rather, we entrust them to represent our wishes by applying their expertise and questioning the university’s administration as much as we would. 

Here at Kent State, this is not happening. There’s a disconnect. Even if university officials did knowingly cover up Cope’s past, why didn’t the Board ask? Wouldn’t that be a question we would ask? Who is Jason Cope? Instead, a trustee asked if the naming guidelines were followed: 

Did Cope pay enough money to actually have the court named after him? 

We would ask to see that policy. We would ask why there weren’t any “Alternatives and Consequences” provided with the resolution. If we don’t approve, what happens? What happens if we do? We would type “Jason M. Cope” into Google, and, after a 0.11-second search, would see his SEC violations. Google would even suggest that we include “SEC” in the search. 

We wouldn’t approve of naming our basketball court after Cope. We wouldn’t approve of a one-page resolution and two minutes of discussion before any vote of approval, let alone this one.

And that’s where the disconnect lies. 

The trustee form of representation has failed us. The inherent trust between the governors and the governed is broken. And, unless the Board adopts a more skeptical, questioning approach during its meetings, bad decisions like this one will be repeated.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion

of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.