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Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin vetoed a bill last week that would have allowed the governing board of each public college or university to hire its own legal counsel, underscoring his stance on who should be in charge of the state’s higher education institutions.

The legislation, introduced by a Democrat in January, appeared designed to counter an opinion submitted by state attorney general Jason Miyares last year that said that higher education boards have “a primary duty” to prioritize serving the state over their individual institutions.

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Critics disagreed, arguing that the public higher education system is founded on the independent judgment of volunteer trustees. The bill sought to reinforce that principle of self-governance, dictating that the “Attorney General may only provide legal service to a public institution of higher education upon request of the governing board.”

But Youngkin, a Republican, didn’t buy it.

“The proposal undermines the foundational accountability structure of Virginia’s public institutions of higher education,” he wrote in his veto statement. “The Attorney General is the duly elected legal counsel for the Commonwealth of Virginia, and must have appropriate oversight over all government legal counsel.”

The decision adds to a growing list of efforts by Youngkin to exhibit greater control over public institutions in the state.