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Southeastern Louisiana University

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The college may work for some, but for me it doesn't seem like a university, but more of a trade school mentality.
3rd Year Male -- Class 1920
Campus Maintenance: A-, Education Quality: F
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I was the Director of Internal Audit fromAccounting
I was the Director of Internal Audit from 2002 to 2004. I had a high degree of autonomy, fitting for the internal auditor role. Then a fraud was reported to me. I immediately informed the president, who advised me to look into it. Turned out a lack of controls permitted a Dept. head to pocket State funds, who also falsified numerous transcripts. People graduated with false diplomas. The president wanted to hear no such thing. I was placed under a new Audit Director who had the day-to-day objective of personally purchasing and then selling on EBAY used SLU textbooks meant for students in the annual student union book sale. She even had SLU staff take her media mail EBAY packages to the post office for her on company time. This supplemented her salary quite nicely. I reported this conflict of interest to the president. The president's action was to let me go. Poor ethics from the top down at SLU result in a low quality education for all students.
Alumnus Male -- Class 2000
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SLU's Accounting program, back in the 80's, preparedAccounting
SLU's Accounting program, back in the 80's, prepared me well for auditing and the fundamentals of debits and credits, but I was extremely lacking in advanced accounting skills (as assessed by my taking of the CPA exam shortly after graduation) due to SLU's hiring of a professor who had absolutely no real world practical experience. The business school was even worse, with professors only seeking tenure (Business Policies, Principals of Insurance, and Principals of Management courses), which did not come close to imparting the skills needed for me to be on the cutting edge in the business world.

Ten years later I had the distinct advantage (read disadvantage career-wise) of actually working for my alma matter, where I got an intimate and unique inside look of the inner workings of this institute of higher learning. I was the Director of Internal Audit for SLU from 2002 to 2004, reporting directly to the President of the University. At that time, SLU's former president had just risen to the ranks of UofL System president, and SLU's new president, my new boss, was promoted from the teaching ranks of the College of Education. I was a state government employee with a high degree of independence, fitting for the classic definition of an Internal Auditor. SLU's president approved my audit plan, usually on an annual basis. Then a potential fraud (which proved to be a major fraud of historical proportions for SLU) was reported to me early in my tenure. I immediately informed the president, who advised me to look into it and keep him informed, which I did. As I investigated, it became evident that one department had started pocketing State revenue and the VP of Finance had not taken note through the budgetary process, though internal controls should have alerted him immediately to this fact. My investigation discovered the Director of this particular department not only pocketed substantial State revenues without the VP of Finance noticing, but had also enabled 20 students to receive false academic credits on their transcripts, of which 12 had actually received a diploma! Thus were the lack of internal controls by a session of SLU presidents and the long-tenured VP of Finance.

My audit report stipulated who the whistle blower had been to reveal the potential fraudulent activity in this department; nevertheless, the president saw to it to gather the VP of Finance and the University's inside counsel/attorney into his office, and call me at my home (after work which he never had done) to ask the question, "Who REALLY alerted the Internal Auditor's office to this potential fraud, which by the way looks really bad for the University?" He obviously didn't trust the true facts I had presented to him during the discovery phase of the fraud, right though the issuance of the audit report.

The Office of Internal Audit always prided itself in being independent and objective, marks of the accounting profession, and especially that of internal auditors. Being the bearer of bad news to a new president who wanted no such thing to happen under his watch, I was placed under the watchful eye of a new Audit Director who had one day-to-day objective of using University resources (she personally purchased used textbooks meant for students in the twice-annual student union book sale, and had audit staff take her media mail packages to the post office for sale to buyers on EBAY), supplementing her salary as Director of Internal Audit. I reported this conflict of interest to the president, who promptly stated to me, "She did not use good judgement, but really hasn't done anything wrong." Shortly following this, I got notified by University Police that I should turn over the keys to my office and vacate immediately. This president then was promoted to the System office president position, while I was placed on unemployment.

This lesson here is, when people in power feel threatened, regardless of your position, CPA certification, objectivity, and honesty, you will get screwed. The ethics of those running SLU during this time get a grade of "F" by this independent CPA, who was forced to put his career on the line to report the alarming misappropriations (which was my job to do) by investigating and reporting the fraud, and by exposing the severe lack of ethics on the part of the EBAY sale of textbooks by the new Director of I.A.

Alumnus Male -- Class 2000
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Southeastern Louisiana University
Southeastern Louisiana University

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