On May 11, 2012, Governor Robert Bentley signed Legislative Act No. 2012-497 to amend Section 16-60-110, Code of Alabama 1975, to remove Athens State University from under the jurisdiction, supervision, and control of the Alabama State Board of Education and Department of Postsecondary Education. This legislation created a Board of Trustees for Athens State University. This new Board of Trustees was seated on October 1, 2012, and is the first autonomous board to govern the University since it became a public institution in 1975.
The 11-member Board includes eight members that are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate and three ex-officio members: The Governor of Alabama, The Chancellor of the Alabama Community College System, and one member of the Alabama Community College System Board.
The Board of Trustees is responsible for the governance of Athens State University and meets quarterly. All meetings of the Board and Board Committees are open to the public.