The University and College Union will turn to the Freedom of Information Act in a concerted campaign to hold university managers to account for "abusive management and financial practices".
Delegates to the lecturers' union Natfhe national conference this week carried a motion warning that "levels of accountability and transparency are at an all-time low in all parts of higher education".
The motion, from the London region, said that "the new union must prioritise improved governance throughout the sector as a key objective and, in particular, educate officials in the use of Freedom of Information actions to highlight abusive management and financial practices within any/all institutions".
The union will seek to obtain under the Fo... Act previously secret financial and management information to expose what is deemed to be poor management practice.
The motion was one of four attacking universities' governance arrangements.
Another - from the East Midlands - criticised the "gross distortion of democratic accountability of governing boards" and said that the "current managerialist governance culture should be consigned to the dustbin of history".
A third called for "the rejection of the current crass and insensitive corporate line-management model that has supplanted traditional notions of governance based upon consensual academic communities".
A fourth motion - from the Yorkshire and Humberside region - called for "reform of university governance to achieve greater collegiality and democracy".