Thursday, February 19, 2009

Oregon Province Bankruptcy and Gonzaga University

There's a lot of speculation abroad, not least amongst the lawyers for the victims, that they'll be able to include Seattle University and Gonzaga University in the province's assets. If they go after the universities, it won't be as property of the Province.
Ironically, Gonzaga has a two-tier board that sets it apart from most of the nation's 28 Jesuit colleges and universities because Jesuits retain greater control. Most of the schools exist as independent corporations and are no longer owned by Jesuits. However, Gonzaga is owned by a corporate board of nine Jesuits, called the "board of members," which holds power to change the university's bylaws. The board of members delegates authority to the 29-member board of trustees for general oversight and hiring of a president, who must be a Jesuit...The board of members has the power to dissolve the board of trustees...
Either way, then, the universities will present a unique challenge for the lawyers of the victims: Gonzaga is owned by a small group of Jesuits as individuals and Seattle University is almost certainly a private corporation. What now?


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