Can an academic administrator (department chair, dean, provost) direct the expenditure of endowment income either in lieu of the faculty holder or when the endowment is vacant?
No, unless the administrator is also the endowment holder. While academic administrators may discuss or make recommendations of appropriate or strategic uses of endowment income available for expenditure, it is expected that the faculty holder has discretion to make most decisions regarding use of funds. The letter of appointment between the campus and faculty holder should specify any conditions on the expendable income, including the portion to be allocated for salary and any conditions on use of discretionary funds (e.g., share for graduate student support). When an endowment is vacant, funds cannot be expended except for specific, defined purposes in support of the original intent of the endowment and with permission of the original donor and the BoR.