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State audit of CCSU finds lack of proper oversight

A state audit of operations at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) for the 2020 and 2021 fiscal years found that the university lacked proper oversight, according to a report released on Thursday. The report found that CCSU did not properly track hostile work environment complaints, could not account for paying an employee an additional $14,265 and did not competitively procure services on multiple occasions.

Despite a recent sexual misconduct scandal in the university’s theater department, the state audit found that the university was still not properly tracking hostile work environment complaints against employees. According to the report, CCSU did not maintain a chronological log of hostile work environment complaints that would have allowed the university to identify concerning behavioral patterns. 

The auditors noted that without such a system, the university would be unable to categorize complaints and identify patterns of behavior that would require action by the university. The university responded by telling auditors that they just recently implemented a software system allowing them to properly track complaints this year.

Auditors also found that CCSU was not properly procuring services. In six instances, according to the report, the university made purchases that exceeded $10,000 without properly price comparing or putting the service up for a bid, as is required by the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) procurement manual.  

Additionally, the auditors found that CCSU appeared to attempt to skirt the requirement by breaking up a purchase from one vendor into several smaller purchases so that the expenditures fell below the $10,000 threshold. In response, the university stated that due to the finding they have begun to “educate, implement and enforce the recommended action of requiring three quotes for all multi-vendor [Diversified Agency Services] or consortium contracts.”

The auditors noted, however, that the same finding had been noted in the last three audits of the university covering fiscal years 2013 through 2019.

The report also found that the university did not have proper policies and procedures in place to document certain payroll and personnel transactions. This led to an employee receiving an additional $14,265 in pay that the university couldn’t provide any documentation to support or justify the additional hours worked. 

In response, the university said that the former Vice President of Institutional Advancement “authorized the use of semester non-teaching assignments to this employee who was assigned duties outside of her normal work hours in support of these alumni and development efforts.” The university said that time and attendance is not recorded for those type of assignments, but payment is based on the equivalent of a “load credit”.

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Tom Hopkins

A national, award-winning journalist from Bristol, Tom has a passion for writing. Prior to joining CII, he worked in print, television, and as a freelance journalist. He has taken deep dives into sexual assault allegations by Connecticut professors, uncovered issues at state-run prisons, and covered evictions in the New Britain Herald. He chose to focus on issues based in Connecticut because this is his home, and this is where he wants his work to make the greatest impact.

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