Towson University took bad checks, audit finds

It is also criticized over agreement with state Transportation Department

June 26, 2013|By Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun

A legislative audit released Wednesday found that Towson University was slow to act when students repeatedly wrote bad tuition checks and that a $4.3 million agreement with the Maryland Department of Transportation circumvented Maryland procurement rules.

The audit states that 78 students submitted two or more bad tuition checks worth $650,000 over two or more semesters. If the university had placed the proper holds on their accounts, the repeat offenses couldn't have occurred. The school promised to take "timely and appropriate action against students who are in arrears."

The audit covers the period between Feb. 9, 2009, and Dec. 11, 2011.

The report says of the agreement between Towson and MDOT that "in many cases, the state agency identified the individuals to be hired by TU, and TU performed no oversight or monitoring of the activities performed by these individuals."

Towson concurred with all of the audit's findings — though it said employees never meant to circumvent state rules — and said it has taken corrective action.

Towson also said it would implement a "formal recruitment process for employees hired under a sponsored contract" and "several monitoring and oversight procedures" to prevent a recurrence of the arrangement with MDOT.

"It should be noted that that interagency agreement … was not intended to serve as a mechanism to circumvent procurement regulations," Towson said in a response to the findings, included in the audit report.

The school's malware-protection program was also found to be lacking along with controls over certain databases and payroll functions, and will be strengthened.

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