ASuop President Protests “Lack of Transparency”
Late last year, The Pacifican reported that Pacific Athletics had overspent its budget for the 2017 fiscal year by $4.2 million. The news caused waves across campus, and President Eibeck vowed to take steps to recoup the money, and prevent a similar situation from occurring in the future.
Now, a few months removed from the controversy, ASuop President Grant Kirkpatrick is speaking out about what he perceives as a lack of transparency from Pacific’s administration.
Kirkpatrick told The Pacifican that he did not find President Eibeck’s initial response to the news adequately informative, and that his consistent attempts to understand more of the details of the over-expenditures in the months that have followed have been fruitless.
“They told us they were attempting to fundraise based on predicted money, rather than raised money, and they said they will now operate on a pay-as-you-go system. I still don’t know how much of the problem that was,” Kirkpatrick said.
In November, interim Athletic Director Wes Yourth told The Pacifican that the nature in which Athletics makes and spends money made it difficult to say where the funds had been allocated.
“There are a number of different things that financially we are responsible for; there’s operations, salaries and benefits, and we also offset those expenses with income,” Yourth said. “Certain revenue benchmarks were not made [that would have] offset some of the expenses.”
Kirkpatrick said he wants more clarity as to which benchmarks were not met, for example.
“I understand not getting into the granular details; I’m not going to go over every receipt with you. But [I expect] more than ‘operations,’” he said.
Kirkpatrick stated that Pacific’s administration has not been willing to go beyond the surface in describing exactly happened, “even with the select few people on a committee that is supposed to be dealing with the budget.”
Kirkpatrick is referring to meetings of the Institutional Priorities Committee (IPC), which features leaders and representatives from across campus.
President Eibeck disputed Kirkpatrick’s claims when asked for comment.
“I have shared the Athletics budget at an appropriate level of detail to allow oversight with the Institutional Priorities Committee, the Athletics Advisory Board (in March) and the Board of Regents,” President Eibeck said. “The details of the Athletics budget will now be included as an appendix in the annual budget proposal to the Board, which is shared with the community once approved in May.”
Kirkpatrick indicated that he is not the only one frustrated with administration’s handling of the Athletics situation. The Pacifican asked for comment from other individuals present at these meetings, including IPC Chair Dr. Jeffrey Miles, but all either declined to comment or did not respond to requests.
Kirkpatrick is also dissatisfied with what he perceives as a double standard between administration and academics.
“There is strict financial scrutiny on the academic side,” he said. “There are strict measures by which academic programs are measured; different metrics like retention and persistent rates are accounted for when it comes to approving programs and holding them accountable. [With administration?] We demand to see these metrics and we never see them. If there is accountability, it’s not being shown to us.”
“What happens on the administrative side? They got rid of the budget manager in Athletics, and our old Athletics Director left. Why did he leave at that particular time? I think you can put two and two together; that was probably a very direct result of what happened.”
When asked about the allegation that former Athletic Director Ted Leland left Pacific as a result of the impending controversy, President Eibeck stated that she does not discuss personnel matters as a matter of practice.
“I completely understand if members of the Pacific community say they were frustrated by the situation – I was frustrated,” President Eibeck said. “The excessive spending in Athletics diminishes the work of many people across Pacific who have been making hard choices to reduce their spending. There is no question that even with the best of monitoring, policies and controls in place, ultimately we rely on individuals to make decisions that are guided by our core values.
“We are now focused on moving forward with the Interim Athletics Director working closely with the Vice President of Business and Finance and both are doing an excellent job developing a comprehensive set of measures that will improve reporting, monitoring, and provide closer oversight and support.”
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