The Board of Trustees Committee on Governance and Long-Range Planning met today at Penn State Harrisburg, focusing discussion on the performance audit of Penn State released last month.
Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale blasted the university in the audit, primarily for “outrageous” tuition growth, the size of the Board of Trustees, and a “distressing” background check error rate for employees. Penn State soon responded with numerous disputes of the facts presented in the audit report.
Penn State attorney Frank Gaudagnino explained the original audit process, beginning with a letter from DePasquale to President Eric Barron in August 2016 indicating the office’s intent to audit the university.
“We responded to about 20 different information requests from the Auditor General staff,” Gaudagnino said. “The Auditor General staff came to campus, interviewed a number of administrators and staff, and made visits to six commonwealth campuses that were in the scope of their audit.”
Gaudagnino later thanked university staffers who were responsible for complying with said information requests, explaining many requests required responses within three business days.
The Auditor General’s office provided the university with a draft of the audit report in May, but asked administrators to keep the report confidential. The university then had two weeks to provide a response and correct any factual errors. Gaudagnino indicated some administrative comments were accepted and integrated into the final audit report, but others were not.
The final audit report was released to the public in June, at which time Penn State also publicly released its response.
Alumni Trustee Rob Tribeck asked Gaudagnino if any plan is in place to implement DePasquale’s new recommendations. Basically, all of the recommendations have been presented to the appropriate stakeholders and are being considered in future decision making. As a specific example, campus police is in the process of implementing a new record system that will improve reporting for and tracking of Clery Act violations.
“I think it deserves a bigger look by a broader group than any one committee,” Tribeck explained. Trustees Mark Dambly and Barbara Doran echoed sentiments on the necessity of further examining the lengthy report and numerous recommendations.