By Kaylee Ratliff–
The Board of Trustees Committees met right before spring break to report their recent business. The audit, finance, academic and student affairs committees were present for a meeting on March 6. The Cardinal sat through them all. Here are the highlights:
An updated progress report from a CPA firm, Strothman & Company, was given.
The CPA firm was asked to review six areas:
• All internal audit reports since 2007
• Assessment of university’s function
• Survey of local banks
• Overall assessment of university’s controls over disbursements
• Coordination with another CPA firm who is working on health sciences campus to look into those controls
• Assessment of controls over vendors, maintenances, etc.
“Our overall conclusion is that the university’s internal control of framework needs to be modified in order to prevent future fraud,” said CPA Bill Meyer.
Meyer provided basic observations from his research. “Unit Business Managers or UBMs do not have, what we would consider, an adequate level of oversight and guidance,” he said.
Strothman recommended hiring a Central Financial Officer (CFO), which President James Ramsey approved. UBMs would report to the CFO in an effort to make financial matters more organized.
“We believe that a strong CFO is critical to an organization to the size and complexity of the University of Louisville,” said Meyer.
The General Manager of Louisville Medical Center expressed their need for capital for the U of L Steam and Chilled Water Plant Project. This plant provides heating and cooling energy for nearly all downtown U of L facilities, as well as our Health Sciences Center on campus.
The government sold bonds to finance this project and approval is needed from each entity, for which it provides service, to refinance it. The board approved.
“This is an approval regarding the President’s recommendation,” Phoebe Wood stated, “for the bond refinancing of the Medical Laundry Facility and the Steam and Chilled Water Plant.”
“The University remains in a strong financial position with total assets of $1.3 billion,” a committee member stated. Also, “We’re actually trending better as far as change in net assets from this time last year.” There is a $16 million increase in net assets.
Academic & Student Affairs:
Some news that affects you a little more directly: SGA President Carrie Mattingly reported the accomplishments of the Student Activities Board, Engage Lead Serve Board and SGA.
The SAB has been focusing on a wide range of activities: recreational activities such as live music and fashion shows to events of more serious nature such as Women’s Empowerment Week.
“It’s not necessarily all just about fun events, they do have some really interesting initiatives as well,” said Mattingly.
Mattingly discussed the need for more space on campus, including “vibrant spaces for students to hang out on campus,” solely graduate student space and extended library hours for those night owl studiers.
Provost Shirley Willihnganz outlined data on declination of retention rates after the first years of students’ college career and recommendations on improving it. The core reasons for the declination are students’ dwindling funds for tuition and not being sure what major to declare.
“We would maybe need to look into some scholarship programs that would kick in after the first couple of years,” said Willihnganz.
Willihnganz recognized the exponential amount of energy and programs invested in freshman mentoring and suggested that some of those programs be moved to the sophomore year.