Bryant freezes spending

In an effort to end the fiscal year without a deficit, Interim President Castell V. Bryant issued a moratorium stopping most university spending until further notice Wednesday .

The suspension is in response to the recent reports on the University’s financial status, which showed mismanagement of financial aid, payroll, housing and other financial accounts.

The memo stated, “Recent University financial reporting challenges the financial soundness of the institution and interferes with the ability of the University to fulfill its primary mission of imparting and disseminating knowledge.”

Travel, cell phones, construction/plant operations and maintenance, purchasing cards and grant spending are all under examination.

Spending is allowed for clinical and medical supplies, insurance, laboratory supplies and U.S. postage and parcel services.

Requests for required off-campus copying service, toner-printer cartridges, copying paper and previously approved contracts are granted limited exception to the moratorium. All requests must be made to the Purchasing Director Herman “Buddy” Barker at least two weeks in advance.

Bryant stated in the memo that the University’s resources must be preserved for its purpose, and not for the misconduct of persons or activities, which do not further the University’s academic objectives.

“Were still operating and trying to work within the guidelines of the moratorium,” Athletic Director Joseph Ramsey said.

James Hawkins, dean of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communications said, “This does present a challenge for units across campus to be able to function.”

SGA President Virgil Miller said the suspension has frozen major events such as Be Out Day, which is scheduled for April 2.

“Those things the students were expecting have been put on hold and we don’t know what to expect,” Miller said.

Miller said he would ask Bryant to make exceptions for the major events planned and student organizations.

The suspension has placed a hold on the travel program PeopleSoft. This action affects all domestic and international travel unless it is business related and approved by the president.

Now, all travel requests must be processed manually and submitted on a Travel Authorization Request Form.

All university employees with university cell phones have to turn in their cell phones by 5 p.m. today. If an employee fails to do so, they will be responsible for any bills associated with the cell phone and could be disciplined or even fired.

Purchasing cards had to be submitted to Mary Walker at the Office of the Controller Thursday. The memo stated all purchases made Wednesday or after will not be paid by the University. Re-issuance of credit cards is pending upon consideration.

Bryant or the Board of Trustees would handle construction projects and plant operations and maintenance in a separate category as determined.

Hawkins said the SJGC’s ability to finish construction on its new building and acquire furniture and equipment for the building have not been stopped because funds are already in place.

All grant requests must be submitted to the Office of Research for presentation to Bryant for approval.

The suspension document stated that all those who violate the provisions of the suspension request would be disciplined or terminated.

There is no information yet on when the suspension will end.

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