Retracing their steps

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As is customary during the transition between university presidents, the Kansas Board of Regents recently conducted an exit review of the office of retiring President Jon Wefald.

Currently, similar audits are being conducted at both the University of Kansas and Pittsburg State University.

Friday, the Regents unanimously voted to open the presidential exit analysis to the public. The exit analysis was conducted as an audit by Grant Thornton LLP and was published in full in the Sunday edition of the Manhattan Mercury, as well as other state-wide newspapers.

Additionally, the Regents directed President Kirk Schulz to take a series of actions related to the analysis, including providing a status report by Oct. 1 and conducting further reviews of main points outlined in the audit.

“What we want to do is use the information contained in the audit to improve our business practices,” Schulz said.

Schulz said he received the audit Friday afternoon. Over the next few months, he said he plans to meet with the President’s Cabinet, Faculty Senate, Classified Senate and Student Senate to create a working group for the purpose of addressing the concerns identified by the audit.

According to the president’s Web site, Schulz will facilitate an open forum at 3 p.m. Monday in Forum Hall.

The analysis acknowledges discrepancies found within the Office of the President, KSU Foundation, National Institute for Strategic Technology Acquisition and Commercialization and the K-State Intercollegiate Athletics Department. There were no findings in relation to the K-State Alumni Association.

“We just have to involve the right people and understand the findings and address any changes that need to be made,” said Bruce Shubert, vice president for administration and finance.

Personal inquiries were made in the cases of current and former personnel on the K-State payroll. Bob Krause, former vice president for institutional advancement and former athletic director, head football coach Bill Snyder and former athletic director Tim Weiser were named in the analysis for further review.

The analysis, which ran from Oct. 2008 to April 2009, makes no mention of the recent controversy surrounding Krause and his resignation from the university due to a buy-out deal between K-State and former head football coach Ron Prince.

According to the First Tee Academy biography information, Wefald and Krause served together at Southwest State University from 1977 to 1982. Wefald assumed the presidency at K-State in July 1986; within three months, Krause was named vice president for institutional advancement upon that position’s creation.

Over the course of 22 years, Krause’s role as vice president gradually involved greater responsibility to the university. From student relations to conducting extensive work on behalf of the Alumni Association, the Foundation and Athletics Department, Krause was involved in most of the decisions and accounts reviewed by Grant Thornton.

As specified by the analysis, Wefald’s management style was to hire “good people” and to delegate to them the authority and responsibility they needed to accomplish the goals he had set for them. Therefore, rather than reporting directly to Wefald, it was found that many of the entities to be analyzed were instructed to report to Wefald through the Office of the Vice President for Institutional Advancement, concentrating a great deal of responsibility and oversight in that office.

Wefald told the Kansas City Star Friday that he regrets giving Krause as much authority as he did.

“He did do a lot of good, but Bob had too much to do,” Wefald said in the article. “I probably delegated too much authority to him. I wouldn’t do that again.”

A majority of the findings and recommendations in this analysis are associated with the athletics department — more specifically, with the decisions made in recent years by Krause. Among those were a bank account not routed through the controller’s office, a $500,000 loan to Weiser stipulating that no reason or justification was necessary for the loan and 13 undocumented payments in the amount of $845,000 to Snyder, Weiser, Krause and others.

Wefald said that the most troubling aspect of the report were the missing documents for the $845,000 worth of payments.

“I think we should do everything we can to uncover that,” he said in the Star article.

Shubert said the athletic department is its own corporation and therefore would have had its own policy on documentation keeping. He also said that changes were being made to the structure of the athletic department long before the review was released.

Shubert said a new athletic board consisiting of John Currie, director of intercollegiate athletics; Pat Bosco, vice president for student life and dean of students; Mike Holen, faculty representative for athletics and dean of the College of Education; Ruth Dyer, interim provost; Charles Reagan, associate to the president; and Shubert himself, has been formed to help govern the athletics department. He said this new structure will help the board deal with the problems within the athletic department.

The analysis also outlines a deficit of $2.4 million in the Foundation’s scholarship fund from 2007 and various monthly payments in 2005 and 2006 of $700 to $800 paid to RB Enterprises Inc., which were “completely unexplained,” according to the report.

The analysis directs under its primary findings that K-State has seen significant progress and growth under Wefald. With an increase in enrollment of 52 percent and 2.2 million square feet of new buildings and renovations, the analysis also acknowledged other notable accomplishments under the Wefald administration.

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