June 9-10, 1992
BOARD OF REGENTS
UNIVERSITY AND COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM OF NEVADA
June 9, 1992
The Board of Regents met on the above date in the Computing
Services Video Room on the University of Nevada, Reno Campus
and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Campus, for a special
In Las Vegas: Mrs. Carolyn M. Sparks, Chairman
Mrs. Shelley Berkley
Mr. Joseph M. Foley
Mrs. Dorothy S. Gallagher
Dr. Lonnie Hammargren
In Reno: Dr. Jill Derby
Dr. James Eardley
Mr. Daniel J. Klaich
Members absent: Mrs. June F. Whitley
Others present: Chancellor Mark H Dawson
President John Gwaltney, TMCC
Mr. Donald Klasic, General Counsel
Mr. Ron Sparks, Vice Chancellor
Assemblyman Bob Price
Ms. Mary Lou Moser, Secretary
Also present were Dr. John Swetnam, Vice Chairman, Faculty
Senate, UNLV and Mr. Joel Kostman, President, CSUN.
Chairman Sparks called the meeting to order at 1:40 P.M., stat-
ing the purpose of the meeting was for the Board to determine
a response to the letter it had received from Sentor John
Vergiels, Chairman, Legislative Commission. The letter is
filed in the permanent minutes.
1. Review of Legislative Commission Request
Chairman Sparks asked General Counsel Klasic to give the
Board an explanation of the legal authority of the Legis-
lative Commission and the Board on this matter.
General Counsel Klasic explained that the Legislative Com-
mission had voted to "... proceed with the inquiry into the
University of Nevada System."
General Counsel Klasic stated that this is a case of two
agencies with constitutional authority. The Legislature
has plenary authority to investigate for purposes of pro-
ducing legislation; that power is broad. In the Branhove
Case, the U. S. Supreme Court stated:
"Investigations, whether by standing or special com-
mittees, are an established part of representative
government. Legislative committees have been charged
with losing sight of their duty of disinterestedness.
In times of political passion, dishonest or vindictive
motives are readily attributed to legislative conduct
and as readily believed. Courts are not the place for
such controversies. Self-discipline and the voters
must be the ultimate reliance for discouraging or
correcting such abuses. The courts should not go
beyond the narrow confines of determining that a
committee's inquiry may fairly be deemed within its
However, there are limitations upon the Legislative Com-
mission's authority. The Branhove Case also said: "To
find that a committee's investigation has exceeded the
bounds of legislative power it must be obvious that there
was a usurpation of functions exclusively vesting in the
judiciary or the executive ...." Although an investiga-
tion may be the function of the legislative branch, in
King vs. Board of Regents, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled
that the Board of Regents had exclusive executive control
over the administration of the State University.
General Counsel Klasic stated that if there was a challenge
to an investigation, the law would favor the Legislature
being able to investigate. But he stated there were three
areas to consider: The Legislative Commission is not the
Legislature itself, but is a quasi-executive agency, and as
such there must be standards set for an investigation. NRS
218.682 is a broad statute providing that the Legislative
Commission can set up committees to deal with problems and
Statewide issues. This particular investigation by the
Commission is very open ended; they have stated they will
investigate "anything that anyone wants to produce." That
statement is too sweeping, too broad and sets no standards
or criteria for guidance.
The second area is that of constitutional autonomy of the
Board of Regents. A member of the Legislative Commission
stated it would investigate for future legislation, for
instance to draft legislation to correct relationships
between the Legislature and the Board of Regents, or for
establishing policy controls for the System. There could
be a possible infringement of the autonomy of the Board.
The third area is that the matter could be turned over to
the Grand Jury, or facts could simply be released to the
public. That could infringe the functions of the judicial
or executive branches.
In summary, General Counsel Klasic stated that the legis-
lative body does have a wide range of authority to investi-
gate; the Board could challenge that authority on the basis
the investigation is vague and over-broad, infringement of
the Board's autonomy could be questioned, or the matter
could be referred to the Grand Jury and the courts for
consideration, thereby infringing judicial functions. Gen-
eral Counsel Klasic cautioned that it would be an uphill
battle if a challenge were issued.
Dr. Eardley asked if it was known how extensively the Com-
mission wants to proceed and if there are parameters.
General Counsel Klasic stated that it is not known, that
in the transcript of the Commission meeting there was a
reference to "... whatever material would be brought to
us". Dr. Eardley then asked how the Board could respond
if it does not know the scope of the investigation. Gen-
eral Counsel Klasic stated that a member of the Legisla-
tive Commission had initially referred to Jerry Tarkanian
and his resignation. Chairman Sparks stated that it was
her understanding that the Commission's original recom-
mendation for investigation was with the basketball pro-
gram; however, since that time, they have expanded that
to all issues connected with UNLV, which is a broad scope.
Dr. Hammargren stated that he had called for an independent
investigation last March, and that 5 Regents were in favor
of an investigation, but in March only 4 voted in favor.
The Clark County Grand Jury voted 17-0 in favor of an in-
vestigation. All Southern Legislators voted in favor of
an investigation, so he felt it was quite clear that there
should be one.
Dr. Hammargren moved to cooperate fully with the Legislative
Commission in its investigation. Mrs. Berkley seconded.
Chairman Sparks explained that there were not 5 votes (from
the Board) in favor of an investigation. Dr. Hammargren
stated that 5 members had spoken at the meeting for an in-
dependent investigation; that 4 wanted the Legislature to
investigate and 1 wanted the investigation by the Attorney
Mr. Klaich stated that Dr. Hammargren's motion, as framed,
made it difficult to vote. He questioned where the as-
sumption had come from that the Board of Regents was not
going to cooperate fully. He stated that he had no prob-
lem with an investigation into the resignation of the
Coach, the acceptance of the resignation and the events
subsequent to that, but the Board has received an open-
ended request from Mr. Vergiels. He suggested that the
Board provide Mr. Vergiels and the Committee with a full
report about the resignation, the acceptance of that resig-
nation and the events subsequent to that incident and then
let the Commission pose specific questions to the Board,
should there be questions, and the Board could then re-
spond. He added that he did not feel it was prudent to
just state that the Board would "cooperate fully".
Mrs. Berkley stated that she felt it was less important to
argue the constitutional point, but that she felt the Board
needs to address the public on the matter. She added that
the Board cannot dictate to the Legislature about what it
wants to investigate. She pledged full cooperation of the
Board if the goal is to get to the truth. She suggested a
short letter be sent pledging full cooperation and then
await a response. She reminded the Board that the Legis-
lature provides the funds for the operation of the System,
and in order to fulfill the Board's responsibility to
students, it needs the funding from the Legislature, and
the Board should be mending fences with the Legislature.
Mr. Foley stated he disagreed with Mrs. Berkley's statement
that the Board cannot refuse Mr. Vergiels' request because
refusing would jeopardize all appropriations (for UCCSN)
in the future. He added, that even the Tarkanian people
were upset with Mr. Vergiels' handling of the matter be-
cause they feel Mr. Vergiels has a conflict of interest in
that he is an employee of UNLV. Mr. Foley stated that he
agreed with Mr. Klaich. He explained that the resignation
(Mr. Tarkanian's) came about with the involvment of "Perry
the Fixer". Mr. Tarkanian resigned, then attempted to with-
draw that resignation. He stated he felt the Board should
supply a paper, in detail, about the events before and after
Mr. Klaich suggested that the Board not pledge its coopera-
tion, but that it should start cooperating right now. He
added that he deeply resented any implication of Mrs.
Berkley's previous comments concerning the actions or
votes of the Board in getting to the truth of this matter.
He continued that other members have not done this, al-
though she may have.
Mrs. Gallagher stated that if, in Mr. Vergiels' letter, he
had not stated, "... and other matters concerning the Uni-
versity of Nevada, Las Vegas", she would be agreeable to
the motion; that she agreed that the UNLV basketball pro-
gram and the Tarkanian matter might be a matter for inves-
tigation. She stated she felt the investigation would be
setting a precedent and that in the future the Legislature
could decide it wanted to investigate officers, programs,
etc., where it did not have the expertise the Board would
have, and that would be a challenge to the Board. She
stated she was in favor of releasing everything the Board
has on the Tarkanian and basetball program matter and let
the Legislators see if they are finding what they think
is there. She stressed that the Board has not covered
up anything; that there may have been some things left
unsaid, and the investigation may prove it had been left
General Counsel Klasic interjected that in the Board "lay-
ing everything out", it should be aware there was currently
litigation in process with an Assistant Coach, and there
was a threat of the Coach filing a law suit as well. Some
of this material may be privileged testamentary information.
Under the Open Meeting Law, there may be some information
for which it would be required that the Board would have
to vote for its release, and it would also have to obtain
permission from all persons discussed in a closed meeting
before that information could be released.
Mrs. Gallagher stated she would not want to jeoparidize any
litigation, and questioned whether executive session infor-
mation could be deleted on those who might refuse its re-
lease. General Counsel Klasic stated he felt it could be
Dr. Derby stated she was in favor of the motion because of
the perception by the public and the abuse the Board has
taken in voting against an independent investigation. She
stated that she felt a paper from the Board would not be
believed by the Legislature; that limiting cooperation is
not helpful; and that it is important to stress willingness
Dr. Eardley stated that he felt cooperation with the Legis-
lature is best, but he would expect the Legislature to
clearly tell the Board what it wants. He stated that as an
elected official he was here for the protection of the
Constitution and the students. He added that attention has
been directed for one full year on this particular program
and that he felt it was the President's problem. He stated
he would "balk" at the Legislature evaluating the Board's
performance; that this was very questionable. He added
that he was not against an investigation, but that he did
not like the implication that the Board is trying to "stone-
wall" and is offended by that.
Chairman Sparks stated that this request by the Legislative
Commission is the only one the Board has received for in-
formation on the Tarkanian matter; but she felt the Commis-
sion's motion was as vague as the letter from the Chairman.
She stated she would be comfortable releasing the executive
session information if the intent is to get to the truth of
the resignation. She suggested the Board direct the Chan-
cellor to provide details of the resignation and related
matters. She expressed concern that the Legislature had
not provided funds for the investigation, adding that the
Board had spent a year in its deliberations on the matter.
Mrs. Berkley stated she did not think the Legislature was
asking permission, that the letter requests cooperation,
and she stressed that the Board would be "jumping the gun"
if it gave the Commission information now. She suggested
a simple letter stating full cooperation and then to wait
to hear from the Legislature. Chairman Sparks stated she
felt the letter does ask for information regarding the
resignation of the Coach and that it was not necessary to
put it off any longer since the Board had the information.
Mr. Klaich stated he would not be in favor of mentioning
the constitutional authority of the Board; that it would
serve no purpose. Additionally, he stated he did not mean
to limit the scope of the Legislature's investigation; that
the Board cannot tell the Legislature what to investigate.
However, he stated that the Board could provide information
on the specific item in the letter, then await further
questions from them.
Mr. Klaich moved to amend the motion to add ... by directing
the Chancellor to collate and deliver to the Committee such
information concerning the resignation of Coach Tarkanian
and events subsequent to that resignation; that the Board
does not intend to imply that it is limiting its coopera-
tion and that if there are other questions, the Legislative
Commission should get back to us. Mr. Foley seconded.
Dr. Derby stated she felt this would limit cooperation; that
she liked the simple motion. Mrs. Berkley questioned why
the Board should not cooperate fully.
General Counsel Klasic stated that the letter from Mr.
Vergiels was not an accurate rendition of the motion
passed by the Commission. The motion was to "... proceed
with an inquiry into the University of Nevada System" and
Mr. Vergiels' letter is not as broad. Mr. Klaich stated
that according to the transcript a letter had been read
into the the transcript, one that had been prepared before
its Commission's meeting, so that the members knew what
was in the letter. Mrs. Gallagher related that the letter
sent to the Board was different from either the letter
read into the transcript or the motion. Chairman Sparks
stated that the Board can only respond to the letter it
Assemblyman Bob Price asked to speak to the Board. He
stated he had been at the Legislative Commission meeting
and related that there was a great deal of testimony that
went beyond the resignation of the Coach, that it had in-
cluded discussion on the UNLV Foundation and the relation-
ships of the Foundation, and that is why the motion was
much broader. He urged a simple motion pledging Board
cooperation. He added that the Legislature can impanel a
State Grand Jury. Mr. Price asked that the Board reconsider
Mrs. Gallagher asked why the Commission would not have want-
ed to sit down with the Board of Regents and discuss this
situation. The Commission must also work under the Open
Meeting Law. Mr. Price stated he was surprised that Mr.
Foley was the only Regent present at their meeting.
Chairman Sparks agreed with the amendment and added that
she was concerned that with the simple motion the meetings
would go on and on.
Mr. Klaich withdrew the amendment, and Mr. Foley withdrew
the second, and Mr. Klaich presented another amendment,
seconded by Mr. Foley.
Mr. Klaich moved to reply as follows to the action of the
Legislative Commission as stated in the letter to Chairman
Sparks from Senator John Vergiels dated June 1, 1992:
"We agree to accept your invitation to cooperate with
the Legislative Commission. We will begin that cooper-
ation by directing the Chancellor to compile and forward
information in our possession regarding the resignation
of Jerry Tarkanian, the acceptance of that resignation
and related events subsequent to the resignation. If
additional information is desired, please contact the
Chancellor at your convenience." Mr. Foley seconded.
Motion carried on roll call vote:
Aye: Regents Eardley, Foley, Gallagher, Klaich, Sparks
Nay: Regents Berkley, Derby, Hammargren
Absent: Regent Whitley
Chairman Sparks then called for the vote on the motion as
amended. Mrs. Berkley stated she was concerned that a "yes"
vote would limit Board cooperation, and asked whether this
was "stonewalling". She asked to be reassured that the
Board would not withhold information, and wanted a clari-
fication as to what would be provided. Mr. Klaich stated
that it meant the Board would cooperate with the Commission,
that the Board was not limiting them in any way. Chairman
Sparks stated that a draft of the reply would be facsimilied
to the members of the Board. Mrs. Berkley asked if infor-
mation on the Foundations would be sent to the Commission,
with Mr. Foley replying that the Commission had not yet
asked for that information. Mr. Klaich explained that any
response to the Legislative Commission is a public document,
available to the media and the public. He stated that the
motion puts forth, in a concise response, what this scenario
is, that in so doing, it could not be picked apart by the
media, and that if the Commission wants something else, it
can make such a request.
Upon roll call vote, the motion as amended carried:
Yea: Regents Derby, Eardley, Foley, Gallagher,
Hammargren, Klaich, Sparks
Nay: Regent Berkley
Mrs. Berkley then changed her vote to "yea".
2. New Business
Mrs. Jackie Mc Call Singer stated that questions re-
garding the Foundations had been brought to the Board
of Regents at different times in different areas but
because of time restraints her questions had not been
answered. She stated the Legislative Commission had
"called us in" to testify before them at their recent
meeting. She added that in the beginning the Board of
Regents had given her more attention, then had stopped.
Chairman Sparks explained that if Mrs. Mc Call wished a
lengthy discussion, that topic should be made an agenda
item. Mr. Foley asked that Mrs. Singer write a letter
to the Chancellor giving specific details so the Board
could answer. Mrs. Singer agreed that she would do
that. She denied that she was a "Tarkanian radical".
Dr. Hammargren questioned whether there would be an
item at the June meeting regarding the Foundations,
with the Chancellor replying that the Board had reqest-
ed General Counsel Klasic to conduct a survey of all
the institutions on gifts, and that a Chancellor's
Committee was being appointed to oversee the survey.
When the survey is completed, it will be presented to
the Board. The Chancellor noted that General Counsel
Klasic set a September 1, 1992 deadline for this in-
formation. Mrs. Mc Call stated she would be willing
to wait until September.
Assemblyman Price thanked the Board for its cooperation.
The meeting adjourned at 3:00 P.M.
Mary Lou Moser
Secretary of the Board