Resolution Regarding Independent Audit of Sonoma State University

Resolved: That the Sonoma State University (SSU) Academic Senate calls for a comprehensive financial and management audit of the University, including Grants and Contract Administration and CIHS, by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee or some other institution acceptable to the Senate; and be it further

Resolved: That an SSU Academic Senate subcommittee or the Senate Executive Committee approve the auditing firm or entity, the audit proposal, and the audit contract, meet with the auditors for an exit interview and receive an original copy of the final audit report.

Resolved: That the SSU Academic Senate calls for this audit to include university internal controls, documented financial roles and responsibilities, compliance with system and campus policies, accounting for staff paid from outside sources, flow of funds between university entities and accuracy of financial reporting provided to the campus community for fiscal years 2004-2005, 2005-06 and 2006-07.

The audit should specifically address some or all of the following questions as determined in consultation with Senate subcommittee or Executive Committee and based on on-going results.

  • Did University administrative policies and procedures provide strong controls to ensure financial accuracy and integrity?
  • Does the University administrative process for developing and monitoring budgets for all funds comply with CSU and campus policies and with sound fiscal management?
  • Did Administration and Finance provide adequate training to A&F staff and all other involved university staff to ensure competent administration and oversight of donor funds and grants?
  • What specific expenditures were made with University FTES growth funds?
  • Were Academic Foundation funds spent according to donor agreements, including funds for the Green Center?
  • Were Academic Foundation investment practices consistent with policy and sound fiscal management?
  • Was delegated authority for grants and contracts documented and practiced according to CSU and campus policy? Who had delegated authority?
  • What specific expenditures were made with grants and contracts Indirect Cost funds? Did these funds supplant General Fund supported positions and operating expenditures? How were the supplanted General Funds then used?
  • Are the labor cost analyses used to allocate A&F positions to grants and contracts accurate and documented?
  • Specifically in regard to CIHS: Was the financial condition accurately reported by A&F; were expenditures denied by funding agencies; were Principal Investigators consulted prior to determining expenditure denials to ensure that they were disallowable; were financial transactions processed timely by A&F; were strong internal controls in place; and, were IDC sharing agreements complied with by A&F?
  • To what extent have General Fund monies, including supplanted expenditures, been used to finance the development of the Green Center?
  • Are the revenue and expenditure projections for the operation, capital outlay and debt repayment obligations of the Green Center based on sound financial assumptions?

Resolved: That the SSU Academic Senate calls upon President Armiñana to continue to disclose all financial audits and reports as they become available.

RATIONALE

All of the following argue strongly for the independent audit described above:

A special trustee audit of the Sonoma State University Academic Foundation conducted in late 2006 revealed numerous problems with the business practices being followed by A&F. See: http://www.calstate.edu/audit/Audit_Reports/auxorg/2006/0652AUXSonoma.pdf

A Special Audit Investigation of the California Institute on Human Services revealed numerous problems with business practices in relationship to this center.

The Green Music Center is a project being developed on the campus of SSU as a public private partnership. The Academic Senate has gone on record stating that it does not approve supporting the GMC with General Funds. There are widespread allegations that General Funds and funds from many sources across the campus are being diverted away from the university’s academic mission to support the GMC and that some of these funds may not be being transferred or spent in keeping with CSU policies.
SSU has borrowed heavily to support development of GMC and other controversial projects such as the purchase of land in Rohnert Park for faculty/staff housing that is not appropriately zoned for this purpose.

In 2004, WASC issued an accreditation report indicating that there was poor alignment between SSU institutional priorities and mission. In many respects, it would appear that this criticism is even more valid today than when first issued.
It is alleged that SSU used the over 10 million dollars that it received for general administrative expenditures from grants and contracts across the past five years to free general funds and other fund accounts, with the freed up funds used to pursue other, non academically-related priorities.

Approved by the Senate 3/6/08