Topeka At the urging of Gov. Mark Parkinson, the Kansas Board of Regents on Thursday ordered audits of three more universities following last week’s release of an audit of Kansas State University that uncovered numerous questionable financial transactions.
The regents said it also wanted the six regents universities to face a regular schedule of independent audits.
The regents already had ordered audits at KSU, Kansas University and Pittsburg State University because the chief executives of those institutions were stepping down.
But the KSU audit leveled allegations of inappropriate dealings under the administration of retiring President Jon Wefald. The KU and PSU audits still are being worked on.
Regent Gary Sherrer said the state should implement an ongoing schedule of independent auditing of the schools and not wait until there is a change of leadership.
He said there was no hint of any problems at the other three schools, but added, “It doesn’t make sense to audit three and not the other three. This isn’t about a change in leadership, this is just a checkpoint to make sure things are being done properly.”
Regents unanimously approved the motion to audit Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University and Wichita State University. A plan of regularly scheduled audits will be considered at a later date.
Parkinson wrote a letter to the regents calling for a broader audit policy “to maintain trust with the public.”
During a break in the regents meeting, retiring KSU President Wefald said he thought it was a good idea to conduct the independent reviews at all regents schools.
Wefald told reporters he didn’t think the “exit analysis” released last week would hurt his legacy as president of KSU.
KSU’s increased student enrollment, research funding and private dollars during his tenure -- those are “permanent,” he said.
The audit’s details of conflicts of interest, possible tax code problems and undocumented expenses “are very fixable.”
Wefald said KSU was the “guinea pig” because it was the first regents university to have the audit ordered by the regents. But, he said, he wasn’t trying to play the victim, adding that recommendations from the audit will help the school and new KSU administration.
“I think we’ll get better,” he said.