Friday, February 6, 2009
This week's edition of Justice, the student newspaper of Brandeis, includes comments from Emily LaGrassa, a spokesperson for the Attorney General's office. Ms. LaGrassa explains that before the University can sell a piece of art, that piece of art must be reviewed for donor restrictions on use or sale of the art. A living donor can agree to release a restriction on the gift, allowing the University to sell the art, but if a living donor refuses or if the donor is no longer alive, the University will have to ask the court for approval to sell the art. Some pieces may not be restricted, but it seems likely that most carry a donor restriction, stating the donor's intent that Brandeis will continue to hold the art for display in its museum. As Ms. LaGrassa says, the process of going through 7,000 pieces of art "will take some time." Perhaps this is one reason President Reinharz said on Wed. that the University may not sell the art after all.
In the same issue, a student editorial urges the Massachusetts legislature to adopt UPMIFA. The editorial quotes Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Peter French as saying, "UPMIFA establishes a sounder and more unified basis for management of charitable funds." As the editorial notes, under UPMIFA Brandeis would be able to continue spending from its endowment fund, despite the economic downturn, and the availability of some funds from the endowment could mean that Brandeis would not have to take the drastic measure of closing the Rose Art Museum.