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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

MU investigating case of possible misappropriation of funds

MU has announced a new directive regarding the management of external accounts affiliated with student organizations.

MU filed a report with the MU Police Department regarding a case of possible misappropriation of funds by a former staff member on Tuesday.

Greek Life staff members first identified a potential problem in mid-July and internal auditors identified “the suspicion of criminal activity,” according to a Q&A released by the MU News Bureau.

“The employee was terminated upon confirmation that the individual violated university policies,” according to the Q&A.

The funds in question are from student organization accounts held by a Greek Life organization.

“These are not university accounts, but instead are external to the university,” stated an email to students from Chancellor-designate Alexander Cartwright and interim Chancellor and Provost Garnett Stokes.

External accounts are maintained by student organizations to handle non-university funds and managed through private banks.

“In some instances, student organizations have granted university employees (such as advisers to the organizations) permission to make expenditures from their non-university bank accounts,” according to the Q&A.

The Office of Student Organizations’ Guidelines for Recognized Organizations recommends that two officers handle financial duties.

In the email, Cartwright and Stokes announced a directive requiring that any university employee with the authority to sign checks for external student organization accounts must now receive approval from their supervisor and the vice chancellor for student affairs for all expenditures from that account.

This requirement, which has been added to the Business Policy and Procedure Manual, only applies to university employees, not students.

A review of “policies and practices for proper management and oversight of external accounts” has been initiated by the Office of the Chancellor with support from UM System President Mun Choi, according to the Q&A. University officials are now attempting to determine how many university employees have signatory authority.

This is not the first time MU has investigated misuse of funds.

In 1994, a former employee of the graduate studies program was convicted of stealing $666,776 from the university, according to previous Maneater reporting.

The university has not released any additional information about the student accounts involved or the identity of the former staff member.

“If police determine misappropriation of funds by a former staff member occurred, the university will encourage prosecution of these crimes to the fullest extent possible and will work with affected groups to address the situation appropriately,” the email said.

Edited by Sarah Hallam | shallam@themaneater.com

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