ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

Changing of the Guard

August 9, 2005 by ACTA

As the fall term approaches, boards of trustees across the country are cleaning house.

In Colorado, the Adams State College board of trustees has announced plans to fire its president, Richard Wueste, for being difficult to work with and for mismanaging funds.

In Tennessee, the board of trustees of the historically black Knoxville College has fired its president, Barbara Hatton. Informing her that she had "alienated every constituency of the college," the board of the struggling, financially strapped school terminated a leader who had ceased to lead. "You have consistently and habitually ignored and failed to carry out directives of the Board," the trustees informed Hatton in her termination letter; Hatton had also apparently consistently failed to perform essential duties such as paying the college faculty--in May, twelve faculty members sued the school for back pay.

In Washington, American University trustees have hired non-university-affiliated auditors and lawyers to review the school's books. University spokepeople are tightlipped about the nature and extent of the investigation, but the Washington Post notes that questions have been raised in the past about president Benjamin Ladner's use of his expense account to hire a chef, a "household assistant," and an assistant for his wife, who volunteers as a university fundraiser.

In Massachusetts, Quincy College's governing board has fired president Sean Barry for misuse of foundation funds, for failing to teach his classes, and for concealing a "payroll scandal."

And in Kansas, Barton Community College trustees have fired president Veldon Law in the wake of a scandal involving three former men's basketball coaches. The ex-coaches are currently awaiting trial on charges of federal fraud.

The Barton College case exemplifies hard-nosed institutional accountability in action. Though Law was not involved in the coaching scandal, he knew his job was in jeopardy when the problems arose last year. "I did everything in my power to rectify the situation," Law said. "But there have been individuals on the board and in the community that felt the buck should have stopped with me." Trustee Robert Feldt confirmed this, stating that "the board has lost confidence in the president," and that "the board believes the president is accountable for the unlawful conduct of employees of the college."

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