I guess I should have been surprised when I heard Alabama State University had filed a lawsuit against the forensic auditing firm (FSS) hired by the Governor to look into the university's finances, but I wasn't. After ASU's initial response following the release of the preliminary audit accusing the Governor of trying to "take over" the university, I was prepared for anything.
The lawsuit filed by ASU alleges that Governor Robert Bentley and "other white Republicans" decided to use ASU's decision to replace its president last year as a means to seize control of the university and that the forensic auditor is "one tool the governor used to accomplish this result." The manner in which the Governor responded to the news that Dr. Silver was removed certainly did not give me the impression that he was pleased, as a matter of fact quite the contrary.
I'm no Governor, but as one – I would have more than enough on my plate and certainly wouldn't want to add running a university to the list.
So I ask this question, is this lawsuit about saving ASU or saving jobs? The price tag on ex-presidents, audits and lawyers has already exceeded a million dollars and what has changed? I'll tell you what – nothing. We are now lawyering up, finger pointing and castigating others while the university's reputation and student body sway in the wind.
I'd like to restate what I said last week, someone at ASU needs to accept responsibility, fix what needs to be fixed, and remove those processes and people that need to be removed. Until then, the only item moving forward will be the legal price tag.
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