Constitutional Authority of the Board

1.01

Under Article VI, Section 31a of the Oklahoma Constitution, the Board is vested with the exclusive authority to oversee, manage, and govern the operations of the agricultural and mechanical colleges of the State of Oklahoma. This authority has been supplemented by statutory authorizations adopted by the Oklahoma Legislature. The enumeration of certain powers of the Board is not a limitation on other powers properly belonging to the Board by virtue of the Constitution of Oklahoma or any provision of law. Under the Oklahoma Constitution, the Board is expressly granted every power necessary or convenient to govern the institutions under its jurisdiction. The statutes of the Territory of Oklahoma form the basis for the Constitutional prerogatives and authority of the Board according to applicable judicial opinions of the Supreme Court of the State of Oklahoma. By law, the present Board possesses the same powers as the Territorial Board did at statehood, and therefore, these powers are also Constitutional in nature.

References:

Constitutional

  • Article VI, Section 31a, Oklahoma Constitution

Statutory

  • 70 O.S. §§ 3411 and 3412

Published Judicial Decisions

  • State, ex rel., Bd. of Regents of Oklahoma State University and the Oklahoma A&M Colleges v. Oklahoma Merit Protection Commission, 19 P.3d 865 (Okla. 2001)
  • Trapp v. Cook Construction Co., 24 Okl. 850, 105 P. 667 (Okla. 1909) (reviewing the powers of the Board of Agriculture, in its former role as the predecessor to the Board)
  • Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma v. Baker, 638 P.2d 464 (Okla. 1981) (reviewing the powers of the Board of Regents for the University of Oklahoma under Okla. Const. Art. XIII, § 8)
  • Bd of Regents, A&M Colleges v. State Regents for Higher Education, 497 P.2d 1062, 1066 (Okla. 1972) (following Trapp, and noting that Art. VI, § 31a, granted to the Board the same powers and authority as that possessed by the previous Board which, in turn, possessed the powers granted in territorial days to the Board of Agriculture, i.e., among other powers, the power to contract, to construct buildings, and to do all things necessary to make the college effective as an educational institution)
  • Blair v. Bd. of Regents for Okl. A&M Colleges, 421 P.2d 228 (Okla. 1966) (the Board and OSU are public corporations and, therefore, can file a lawsuit to require persons fishing at Lake Carl Blackwell to have an OSU issued fishing license without having to request the Attorney General to do so on their behalf)

Oklahoma Attorney General Opinions

  • AG Opinion 01-49 (the Board has authority to select design consultant services independent of Office of Central Services)
  • AG Opinion 95-12 (following Trapp, ruling that the Governor has no power to order a hiring freeze on institutions of higher education governed by constitutionally empowered boards)
  • AG Opinion 92-10 (following Baker, state statutes limiting the expenditure of funds for moving expenses for state employees could not be applied against institutions governed by constitutionally empowered boards of regents)
  • AG Opinion 91-6 (Oklahoma Personnel Act provisions requiring all state agencies to adhere to leave benefit provisions of the Act cannot be applied to institutions governed by constitutionally empowered boards of regents)
  • AG Opinion 87-109 (relies upon Baker, Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Colleges could authorize payment of additional contributions on behalf of employees to the Oklahoma Teachers’ Retirement System)
  • AG Opinion 87-7 (reaffirming Baker analysis, but also ruled state law requiring all state agencies to process lease purchases of equipment by using forms issued through Office of Public Affairs was not unconstitutional)
  • AG Opinion 83-234 (constitutionally derived powers of the Board include discretionary authority over making decisions pertaining to contracting, constructing buildings, consulting contracts, and construction-related contracts – impliedly overruled AG Opinion 74-223)
  • AG Opinion 81-192 (relies upon Trapp, exclusive authority granted by the Oklahoma Constitution to the State Regents for Higher Education to disburse funds allocated to it by the Legislature for the support of higher education could not be infringed upon through statutory language intended to direct the manner that such disbursement would be effected)
  • AG Opinion 76-104 (relies upon Trapp, institutions of higher education exempt from the State’s Central Purchasing Act)
  • AG Opinion 74-186 (relies upon Trapp, institutions of higher education exempt from the State’s Central Purchasing Act)

Analogous Oklahoma Attorney General Opinions

  • AG Opinion 99-22 (relying on Trapp, Department of Wildlife Conservation has the authority of the Department to enter into an agreement with a bank to offer a credit card bearing the department’s logo)
  • AG Opinion 96-71 (citing Trapp and Baker, mandatory salary increase impermissibly encroaches upon the constitutionally-granted authority of the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Comm. to determine the number of employees it wishes to hire)
  • AG Opinion 87-46 (citing Baker, noting OU Board of Regents has greater constitutionally-based authority than Comm. and Department of Human Services)
Approved Date: 
June 20, 1997
Revised Date: 
January 20, 2012
April 24, 2015
Amended Date: 
June 22, 2018