Friday, May 15, 2009

Good news, bad news

So the FY 08 Audit Reports are out. The findings are damning. We have more findings and more repeat findings than we did in FY 07. The results are embarrassing to the university. What borders on criminal is that the BOT Chairman prevented the Interim President from hiring a VP for Financial Affairs six months ago. That means that we will have more findings next year for this fiscal year and probably as bad a report for FY10. These reports of financial mismanagement are a public relations disaster. More importantly, it makes it difficult for funders to support grant applications and donors to contribute to the university. For a BOT that has a record of minimal giving, their malfeasance impacts the financial life of the university much more broadly. In these times of economic contraction, times when institutions of higher learning are vulnerable to collapse, it is unconscionable for the BOT to deliberately impede and destroy the financial viability of the university. The only thing that I am left to imagine is that this is part of a plan to create a condition of financial exigency. This is the academic equivalent of declaring martial law. Faculty and staff could be summarily dismissed and guess who would be the first to receive pink slips. You bet, those who opposed the unethical presidential search. Those belligerent employees who dared challenge the incompetence and ineptness of the Board of Trustees.

The Chitown Daily news has a story on the audit and a story on the BOT approving a contract extension for the student health insurance program. Both stories highlight how incompetence permeates the institution starting with the Board of Trustees. Continue to contact the Governor’s office and keep the pressure on to fill the five vacancies on the Board with trustees that we can trust to make the hard choices without considering themselves and their friend’s interests ahead of the university’s interests.

In the short term, I am also concerned about who will serve as interim Interim president from June 28th until July 31st. Does anyone else smell something fishy here? The board has known that it wanted this applicant for a year and a half so what was the emphasis on July 1st if the applicant isn’t able to start on July 1st? Some thing doesn’t add up here.

I spoke yesterday with a staffer from Speaker Madigan’s office. It is possible that HB 4450 will be called on Tuesday in committee. Citizens may provide testimony at the hearing or submit a written statement to the committee via email. If you are interested in submitting a statement, email me at and I will get back to you.

Stay tuned.

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