Nov 132008
 
Authors: Aaron Hedge, J. David McSwane

CSU Interim President Tony Frank announced his plans to increase transparency of university finance earlier today and said his transitioning administration has cut about half a million dollars in administration that could be reinvested “in the University’s academic core.”

Representing a palpable shift in the university’s top offices, the announcement comes after students, faculty and staff have intensely scrutinized CSU’s financial focus on administration under former President Larry Penley, who resigned abruptly last week.

“In my first message to campus last week as interim president, I committed to improved communication and open collaborative decision-making … there is probably no issue of greater interest to the broad Colorado State community given the state of the global economy than the status of our overall financial foundation,” Frank said in the release.

“… I will be expecting all colleges and divisions to pay careful and consistent attention to institutional expenditures, especially those in non-academic areas, to ensure we’re using our resources wisely.”

Frank’s approach to addressing concerned community members is a stark contrast to how Penley’s administration — known for it’s all-business mentality akin to a private school — approached communicating the budgets, which some said lacked transparency and were “a bit of a mystery.”

In his time at CSU, Penley drastically overhauled top-level administration, adding more than a dozen VP-level spots with hefty budgets and salaries while the academic colleges and library saw a much smaller growth in financial support.

During that time, several key financial overseers left the university — three on the same day — accepted large financial incentives and signed confidentiality agreements, an eight-month-long Collegian investigation found.

The auditors were forced out because they challenged Penley’s financial philosophy, which favored administration over academe, said a former financial overseer who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid repercussion from CSU.

And just weeks before his resignation, top student government officials formed an official financial oversight committee to evaluate Penley’s fiscal management of the university.

Just more than one week in the office, Frank alluded that his leadership will differ from Penley’s.

“Every president approaches the university organization and its budget differently, and I will be doing so with an eye to the higher education and fiscal landscapes here in Colorado and across the country.”

News Managing Editor Aaron Hedge and Enterprise Editor J. David McSwane can be reached at tips@collegian.com.

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