The "House Audit" is in, but the story isn't over

The EMU board of regents commissioned an audit of the controversial presidential house project at EMU, and the results are in. You can read all about it in the Ann Arbor News and other recent stories about the house by visiting the web site http://www.mlive.com/aanews/special/university_house/. The story reports that the audit found that there wasn’t anything illegal about the way that the house was paid for and built, and Kirkpatrick and Incarnati (the chair of the board of regents) are more or less using this as a reason to say that this should end the discussion.

Hardly. In my mind, the issue was never the legality of how the house was being built– I mean, I didn’t think that Kirkpatrick et al took kickbacks or whatever. Though it is worth noting that the audit apparently makes it clear that there were some notable “irregularities” about how funds were shifted around different university accounts to pay for things like the landscaping.

No, I think that the issue is the same as it was a couple of years ago: the President’s house, the building of which Kirkpatrick put into motion the minute he came to campus four years ago, is excessive, especially in light of the budget cuts that have hit EMU and other public universities in recent years. While the faculty ranks shrink, EMU is hiring more administrators and more part-time teachers. While the majority of EMU students and faculty have to work in inadequate and unpleasant academic buildings, the President and Mrs. Kirkpatrick live in a 10,000 square foot palace. Is it any wonder why morale around campus is not exactly at an all-time high?

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