Board of Regents to review audit results of TDECU funding allocation, SFAC process
An audit initiated by UH President and Chancellor Renu Khator into UH’s allocation of $5 million in Higher Education Assistance Funds found no “irregularities or violations of University policy or state laws,” according to a UH spokesman.
The audit results will be made public on Feb. 19 during the Board of Regents meeting. It was conducted following accusations that UH misallocated state monies approved to fund the construction of classrooms in TDECU Stadium for the Spirit of Houston marching band. HEAF funds must be used for academic purposes.
This isn’t the only audit that UH is undergoing. During Thursday’s meeting, the Board will be updated on the progress of three more audits that UH is currently undergoing. These audits have reviewed the current Student Fees Advisory Committee process, the “request for proposal-procurement process associated with the VenuWorks/Aramark contract” and any possible violations of the Memorandum of Understanding agreement with the student body.
“Substantial progress” in the audits is expected by Thursday, and a summary report will be presented at the meeting, according to a spokesman for the University.
These audits follow accusations from the Student Government Association, which began during SFAC presentations in November. During the public comment portion of the presentations, SGA President Charles Haston blasted the Department of Administration and Finance, saying that they had violated the terms of the MOU.
The Student Service Fee, passed in the MOU, was increased by $45 to fund the construction of TDECU Stadium and the renovation of the Hofheinz Pavilion. After the stadium went several million dollars over budget, according to Haston, no portion of the fee was left for the renovation of Hofheinz. This was a violation of the MOU, as half the fee was supposed to go toward the construction and half toward the renovation, Haston said.
Haston called out Sports and Entertainment, a contracted management company hired to manage all events in TDECU Stadium, Hofheinz Pavilion and Cullen Performance Hall, as being incompetent after disputes over whether Frontier Fiesta was charged facility rental fees for the use of TDECU Stadium. This would have been a violation of the MOU, as students are allowed to utilize the stadium and Hofheinz for one event with no facility rental fee.
In the weeks preceding the Board of Regents meeting, SGA has passed a vote of No Confidence, calling for the resignation of Executive Vice Chancellor and Vice President of Administration and Finance Carl Carlucci, Associate Vice President Emily Messa and Assistant Vice President Esmeralda Valdez.
During the SGA meeting, Haston said Carlucci has people “underneath him like Emily Messa and Esmeralda Valdez that demonstrated that they’re entirely incompetent” and that Carlucci’s “solution to that is to take as many shortcuts as possible.”
Faculty Senate President Wynne Chin spoke at the SGA meeting and presented a resolution from Faculty Senate that supports Carlucci, saying Carlucci has overseen several of the large positive changes UH has undergone, including the increase in residential housing and the new Student Center.