Audit: New financial problems at Chicago State Univ.

April 13, 2011 2:56:48 PM PDT
A state audit has uncovered more financial issues at Chicago State University after fiscal irregularities were uncovered last year.

The Illinois auditor general finds 41 financial problems, including over $1 million in university checks that had not been cashed, inappropriate charges to a federal grant program and inadequate controls over convocation expenses.

For over 140 years, CSU has educated young Chicagoans on the South Side. Currently, it graduates a fifth of all African Americans in Illinois colleges.

Under a new president, enrollment and retention at the university are improving, but financial issues continue on campus.

"We feel as though we are making major progress, but we also know that there is much more to do," said Dr. Wayne Watson, Chicago State University president.

CSU's financial problems had been the subject of previous audits.

"I'm satisfied that Dr. Watson has implemented some procedures there, that we will see progress there. But this audit is troubling," said Illinois Senator Edward Maloney, 18th District, chairman of the Higher Education Committee. "In this time of increased accountability, we have to be, no matter what the governmental entity, you've got to be very cognizant and very particular about your accounting procedures."

President Watson says his tenure began during the audit period and that he inherited some flawed procedures. Watson says they have addressed more than half of the problems from the audit.

"A number of these issues are historic," said Dr. Watson. "Regardless of that, we fully accept responsibility to solve them going forward."

Watson says his staff brought some of the financial problems to the attention of auditors.

ABC7 requested an interview with the auditor general, but were told he was not available.

Sen. Maloney says he hopes to have the university detail their responses at a hearing before the legislative audit commission next month.