The governing boards, or one or more of their members, shall visit each of the state institutions of higher education under their control and management in whole or in part as often as may be necessary, and may hold a regular meeting of the governing boards at any such institution. During any such visitation the governing boards or any member thereof shall thoroughly inspect all the departments thereof and investigate the condition and management of the same; and for the purpose of aiding any such investigation the governing boards or any member thereof shall have power to summon and compel the attendance of witnesses, to be examined under oath, which any member shall have the power to administer; and the governing boards or any member thereof shall have access to all books, papers and property necessary to any such investigation, and may order the production of any books, papers or property. Witnesses, other than employees of the state, shall be entitled to the same fees as in civil cases in the circuit court. In any investigation by the governing boards, or by any member thereof, they or he may cause the testimony to be taken in shorthand and transcribed and filed in the office of the governing board as soon after the same is taken as practicable. Any person refusing or failing to obey the order of the governing boards or any member thereof, issued under the provisions of this section, or to give or produce any evidence required, shall be reported by the governing boards or the member thereof conducting the investigation to the proper circuit court or the judge thereof, and such person so refusing or failing shall be dealt with by the court or judge as for contempt.