Allegations of financial bungling at Howard University are mounting as senior academic leaders have charged that “fiscal mismanagement is doing irreparable harm” to the historically black college in Washington, D.C.
According to The Washington Post, Howard’s Council of Deans is urging Howard to fire its chief financial officer, saying his actions have put Howard’s survival at serious risk.
Howard’s Council of Deans also alleged that staff cuts at the university have been based on “inaccurate, misleading” data, lamented a decline in research expenditures and contended that a “burdensome” tuition increase has driven away students.
In a letter obtained by The Washington Post, the deans said Howard’s external auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers, had cited “grave concern about the quality of fiscal decision-making” recently as it terminated its work for the university.
Above all, the deans blamed the “fiscal direction” of Robert M. Tarola, an independent contractor who serves as the university’s senior vice president for administration, chief financial officer and treasurer, according to the Post.
“We believe this direction places the very survival of the University at risk,” the deans wrote in the June 6 letter addressed to Howard trustees.
Howard President Sidney A. Ribeau rejected the allegations, saying the university is making tough decisions to secure its future and remains in strong shape.
“There is not any kind of mismanagement administratively or financially that is damaging the university,” Ribeau said in an interview with The Washington Post. “Unequivocally.”
Ribeau said the 10,000-student university has taken aggressive steps since he took office in 2008 to shore up its financial affairs.
“The allegations from Howard’s academic deans provide a window into a debate seething within one of the nation’s premier historically black universities as it grapples with federal budget cuts and high hospital expenses. Revenue shortages this year, including a loss of tuition from an unexpected drop in enrollment, led the university to slash spending,” the Post reported.
The Post also reported that debate over Howard’s situation burst into public view June 7 with the disclosure of a letter Board of Trustees Vice Chairwoman Renee Higginbotham-Brooks, in which she said the school was “in genuine trouble.” Three days later, Board Chairman Addison Barry Rand responded in a statement that Howard “remains academically, financially and operationally strong.”
On Saturday, Robert L. Lumpkins, a Howard trustee, said the university has begun a search for a long-term CFO. But Lumpkins and Ribeau defended the performance of Tarola, a financial consultant who has held the position through a month-to-month contract since 2010, an arrangement unusual in higher education.
“My view is that the university is in the best financial condition that it has been in in the last five years,” Lumpkins said.
Tarola said PricewaterhouseCoopers served as Howard’s external auditor for seven years but declined this year to seek reappointment. The firm did not state a reason, Tarola said. He said PricewaterhouseCoopers told university officials “there was no integrity concern.”
In October, after an audit, PricewaterhouseCoopers reported finding “certain deficiencies in internal control over financial reporting” at Howard that it considered “material weaknesses.” In March, it issued a “material weakness” caution about aspects of “internal control over compliance” after an audit of government-funded programs at the school.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/7-10/14)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Nite | to the tune of @cnn 😞
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2. Got so much work to do but I just wanna stay in bed and binge watch #Gameofthrones and start the new season of #OnceUponATime. I know I can't be the only one. Right? Ha 💤🦁🍂 #saturday
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3. Mommy's weekend turn up ❤️👶🏾💕🍼 Wouldn't trade it for nothing. #TeamNoSleep lol #HesMyBiggestBlessing ✨
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4. One of them oh shit mont we made it feelings … this shit still be unreal 💯💪🏾 @remyboymonty1738
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5. Tickets Available October 14 @ticketmaster.
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6. People magazine Home edition has raided my house! Get a sneak peek into the bedroom life of the Leakes and see other parts of my home now at PEOPLE.COM
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7. They want to kick you when you down, but kick it when you up
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8. Got my advance copy of #Mafia3 at @gamestop. Get yours via link in the bio #Mafia3 #Ad
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9. This is some of the cast and our diverse team of writers in the writer's room creating funny sh*t for @nbcmarlon what a fun room! Lots of jokes, great stories and having a great time doing what we love... making people laugh and feel something. Look out for our show next year @nbcmarlon we bringing sitcoms back to NBC
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10. #HappySunday☀️Thank you @4everbrandy101 💛💡💛
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11. Happy to be back in Central Falls, RI breaking ground for the One Stop Health Center and hosting a local community event with #Vaseline.
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12. Thank you all in advance 💋💋💋 #Repost @urbansvintage・・・#TarajiPHenson's memoir #AroundTheWayGirl will be available everywhere TODAY October 11th! Will you be purchasing a copy? #UrbansVintage
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13. Moms got my back
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14. @galore dinner party glo ✨ thanks to @styledbygiigii
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15. 🌹#ThisIsWhatTheTruthFeelsLikeTOUR #forevereve
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16. Yes, all those videos I've been posting have led to this: the introduction of skincare to @TYRABeauty! This is the rundown on the new line:Years of research and beauty tips I live by led me to produce the most effective and delightful skincare out there. I'm all about taking really good care of my skin, so I can look like I'm aging in #TyraYears and go filter free on Instagram when I feel like it! Now, it's your turn. ✨My Mama always told me not to wash my face with just my hands. "Tyra, girl, you're just moving the dirt around!" And I've listened. First up is The Clean Machine.... ...a 3-in-1 foaming face wash that cleanses, removes makeup and purified your skin. It has patented technology - a attached Turbo Cleansing Tool - to give you that deep clean that makes your skin feel super fresh. Wanna know more? Yeah, baby. Click that link in my bio.
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17. On set of #beingmaryjane like... ❤️😬💃🏾
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18. #carouselofhope@yvetteshelton100@makeupbylatrice @thestacetheface@marialuciahohan24
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19. I refuse to let a little cold stop me from my daily routines to greatness. #onlythestrongsurvive #warriors
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20. Big things begin with big THINKING... #BusinessEthics #SetLife 🎥
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21. Goodnight - here's a song
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22. Words can't explain the feeling that I have right now.....God is good. look momma I made it. #Harts #Blessed #WhatNow #comedicrockstarshit #4DaysAway
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23. I tried to get a better video with out the nasty bib but she started getting mad at me..lol! Big cuz @the_queen_caitlin trying to show her what to do. #MamasToots #HeirBear👑💜
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24. Gorgeous Serena joined Beyoncé in Formation last night on stage in New Jersey!!!
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25. 😜 @lifeofdesiigner & @rockohill
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