Costs of Federal Investigation of Wright State Top $2.2 Million

BY MARTIN KICH

Writing for the Dayton Daily News Josh Sweigart reports that an ongoing federal investigation of Wright State University has cost at least $2.2 million dollars, and counting.

That total includes salary and benefits for suspended administrators, severance payments to an administrator who retired, a legal settlement to a fired administrator, legal fees, and payments to contracted consultants.

The $2.2 million does not include the “cost of WSU departments created or greatly expanded in response to oversight shortfalls the investigation brought to light; nor does it include looming liabilities such as the possibility of a fine if the federal government deems WSU violated federal law,” or the costs of at least one pending lawsuit.

As Sweigart reports: “The investigation, which began in 2015, focuses on possible violations of H-1B visas, or temporary work visas. H-1B visa fraud carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and companies have paid millions of dollars to settle visa fraud allegations.

“University officials say the cost of the investigation has contributed—though to a lesser extent than enrollment and retention problems—to a budget shortfall that has forced the university to shed jobs.

“[Yet,] in addition to more lawyers [in the chief counsel’s office], the university beefed up its compliance program with a director of research compliance, export control compliance officer, HIPPA and privacy compliance officer, and administrative staff support positions. And it contracted with the law firm Dinsmore and Shohl to manage Wright State’s employment of immigration-related employees.

“Wright State has paid Dinsmore $525,072 since the investigation began for myriad services, including advising them on the investigation.”

I am quoted several times in the article, including the following:

“Kich said he hopes the faculty doesn’t pay a price because of the administration’s mistakes.

“’If we needed people in these offices to ensure we are complying with federal law and federal regulations, clearly there’s some administrative bloat in other areas that can be eliminated,’ he  said.

“Kich noted that international enrollment has also declined during the investigation. While there are several reasons for this, he said, part of it is almost certainly increased scrutiny of international students amid the federal probe.”

In a series of posts titled “Mismanagement and No Meaningful Oversight,” I have detailed some of the causes of the deficits at our university. I have not posted everything that is on our chapter blog [] because some of the issues will be of very limited interest to readers outside of our university. I have also got something of a backlog of communications to send to our chapter members because several issues with shared governance that emerged in the late fall made it difficult to continue to focus primarily on the budget.

In any case, here are the links to the previous posts to this blog on the budget issues:

https://academeblog.org/2016/06/02/mismanagement-and-no-meaningful-oversight-item-1/

https://academeblog.org/2016/06/29/mismanagement-and-no-meaningful-oversight-item-2/

https://academeblog.org/2016/06/30/mismanagement-and-no-meaningful-oversight-item-3/

https://academeblog.org/2016/07/27/mismanagement-and-no-meaningful-oversight-item-4/

https://academeblog.org/2016/08/28/mismanagement-and-no-meaningful-oversight-item-5/

 

Josh Sweigart’s complete article is available at: http://www.mydaytondailynews.com/news/cost-wsu-probe-tops/hYh2QHvt55ISGhDvkmNXuL/.

 

 

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