Earlier this year, Vice President of Student Affairs Jennifer Mennigall was accused in an e-mail by her former second-in-command, James Dragna, of misspending money and intimidating employees.
The news of the e-mail caused USF to audit the department, in part to quell any more accusations of misconduct. The University raised quite a few eyebrows when it decided that the audit would be done internally.
With the integrity of the school and a high-ranking employee at stake, it was odd the University decided not to allow an unbiased third party to do the digging. The decision gave the impression that there was something worth hiding.
This leaves an administration that claims to pride itself on transparency appearing to be little more than a group concerned only with saving face. Seemingly little effort has been expended in actually finding the truth; rather, time and money were expended for the audit, feeding the image of a monolithic University.
The University decided to do the investigation with little or no communication with external sources, encouraging the belief that the University felt no obligation to the students or public. Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Carl Carlucci refused to speak with Oracle reporters face to face. Instead, questions were allowed only through e-mail, giving the administrators the upper hand in deciding what information would be shared and what would remain under wraps.
His decision reflected a clear lack of concern of keeping an open line of information available for students and employees.
Now, with reports that the Office of University Audit and Compliance is preparing to release its findings already, it has become apparent that more questions need to be asked.
The first question should be about the timing of the report. With the semester break around the corner and students engrossed in finals, any controversial news reported would most likely fall by the wayside.
The other question is whether or not the University’s investigation was thorough enough to provide an adequate report in light of such serious allegations.
Reportedly, a number of employees within the Department of Student Affairs told the Oracle that they were not approached or questioned by any auditing authority. One knew of no one in the department who had been contacted by the committee.
How the University has handled the audit to this point leaves many wondering whether or not it will ever be accountable to its employees and students.