Kent State University last week said it’s done answering Beacon Journal questions about its search for a new president.
In a statement, the university said it delivered hundreds of pages of documents and is now moving on.
In essence, the university is refusing to provide supporting evidence that it properly spent at least $250,000 in public dollars in its search for a new president.
It paid invoice after invoice listing “prospect travel expenses” and “press checks” totaling tens of thousands of dollars with no indication for whom those expenses were made, the vendor’s name or whether payments involved any questionable matters.
KSU Vice President and Board Secretary Charlene Reed, who coordinated the search for the university, did not respond to repeated inquiries from the Beacon Journal about how she verified the search firm’s charges for applicants when there was no identifying data.
She referred calls to KSU spokesman Eric Mansfield, who released a statement praising the committee’s unanimous selection of Beverly Warren, provost of Virginia Commonwealth University, and for cooperation in releasing records.
“We are focused now upon a positive transition of leadership as [President] Dr. [Lester] Lefton looks to retirement.” Mansfield wrote in an email. He said “the approval process for invoices was appropriate for each expense.”
While KSU is a public university that gets tax dollars for operations and capital projects and is subject to Ohio’s public records law, it has refused to provide any information about who applied for the job through the search firm or much detail about the public money spent on the hunt.