UDC under Investigation

By Roach, Ronald | Black Issues in Higher Education, September 3, 1998 | Go to article overview

UDC under Investigation


Roach, Ronald, Black Issues in Higher Education


Yet with enrollment up and finances stable, campus officials look optimistically toward the future

Despite a probe by Washington, D.C.'s city government investigators into allegations of funds mismanagement, the president of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) said the financially troubled school begins the 1998-99 school year with a balanced budget and an enrollment increase from last year.

Dr. Julius F. Nimmons Jr., president of UDC, confirmed last month that investigators from the Washington, D.C., inspector general's office had launched a probe into allegations that tens of thousands of dollars in two separate departments at the school had been mishandled.

Chris Bartolomucci, a spokesman for the inspector general's office, said the inspector general has declined to respond to press inquiries.

A Washington Post news article reported August 12 that the city's investigation was launched after Sherrilyn Silver, UDC's former interim chief financial officer, reported allegations about the Continuing Education department and parking garage operations to the city's inspector general's office. Nimmons said although Silver's actions resulted in the probe, he and the city's chief financial officer, Earl C. Cabbell, had Silver transferred to another city post because Nimmons had grown frustrated with her lack of cooperation.

Nimmons confirmed that improprieties in the Continuing Education department resulted in a number of teachers not getting paid regularly and with funds being misspent over the past year. As a result, the head of the department, Sandra Edgecombe, was placed on administrative leave and dismissed in early August.

"There was mismanagement of funds in the Continuing Education department," said Nimmons, who added the inspector general's probe was warranted given the severity of the problem.

Nimmons said there were other allegations made by Silver, including charges that receipts from money collected by the UDC parking operations failed to match deposits made into a school banking account, that should have been handled internally by UDC administrators. The allegations, however, became the subject of the inspector general's probe after Silver reported them to city officials without the president's knowledge.

Other improprieties included:

* Reports that dozens of people were hired without authorization from the school's finance department. Nimmons described the problem as longstanding, but notes it has been resolved.

* An accounting department employee taking kickbacks by enrolling UDC students in courses with them not having to pay tuition. …

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