UC Board of Regents discuss state audit of UCOP

Daniel Kim/Senior Staff

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The UC Board of Regents held an in-depth discussion on the findings of California State Auditor Elaine Howle’s report of the University of California Office of the President during the board’s open session Thursday morning.

Howle, who presented a summary of the report’s findings to the board, raised a series of concerns with the transparency and approval process of UCOP budget expenditures, status of university presidential initiatives, UCOP’s staffing operations and the alleged interference of UCOP with campus audit survey responses.

Howle also highlighted the series of recommendations her office presented for UCOP, with a three-year plan for implementation from 2018-20.

“This is not an audit of the president. This is an audit of the process — the Office of the President,” Howle said at the meeting. “I’m not here to critique her leadership. I’m here to review processes.”

UC President Janet Napolitano stated at the meeting that UCOP plans on fully implementing all 33 of Howle’s recommendations to the office, calling the recommendations “constructive.”

Napolitano added at the meeting that she has appointed a task force in her office to oversee the implementation of the recommendations and said the task force’s work has already begun.

The state audit also offers recommendations for the board itself. Board of Regents chair Monica Lozano provided proposals for implementing Howle’s recommendations for the board, including a proposal to retain an independent, third-party consultant to oversee the implementation of the audit’s recommendations for UCOP.

“This is not about compliance by itself. This is about changing the culture, the institutional culture of an organization … and we need to step up our game as the fiduciaries of the university,” Lozano said at the meeting.

In the afternoon, the board plans to take action on a proposed nonresident student enrollment policy for university campuses.

Bobby Lee is an assistant news editor. Contact Bobby Lee at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @bobbylee_dc.