In the midst of a scandal involving a state audit of the University of California that revealed misleading accounting practices and hidden funds, the University of California has decided to change one of its policies. According to a statement by Board of Regents Chair Monica Lozano and UC President Janet Napolitano,
Up to now, board dinners have been paid for with monies from the Searles Fund, a private endowment that the donor designated for university business costs not covered by state or tuition funds. However, to avoid any question over use of university or university-associated funds, regents will absorb their costs for board dinners from this point forward.
A San Francisco Chronicle report showed that the board of regents regularly billed the University of California for festivities such as dinners and parties that they threw themselves. The events were never covered by public money or tuition, instead the events were charged to the private endowment. The policy was quickly changed within hours of the San Francisco Chronicle report becoming public. Some of the events were held during questionable times such as the $270 a person banquet held on January 25th, the night before the regents voted to raise student tuition. The governing board held a similarly priced party on May 17th, a few hours after student protesters shut down the regents’ meeting because of tuition increases and the $175 million secret fund uncovered by a state audit this year. It is going to be a while until the UC recovers from the scandal that the state audit revealed.
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