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Second Dickinson State University audit shows room for improvement

DICKINSON, N.D. - A second University System audit of Dickinson State University released last week shows additional improvements the university needs to make in regard to harassment and evalution policies.

DICKINSON, N.D. - A second University System audit of Dickinson State University released last week shows additional improvements the university needs to make in regard to harassment and evalution policies.

Neither DSU President D.C. Coston Coston nor Chancellor Bill Goetz mentioned it during a news conference Friday morning. Coston said he hasn't had a chance to fully review the report.

Issues in the report include:

<•> Performance evaluations. The audit found only one member of the president's Cabinet had a yearly review completed and in his file. All other members have not had a documented review since 2007 under former President Lee Vickers.

"By not having documented yearly reviews, there is no documented basis for pay increases or promotions," the report said.

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<•> Harassment. The audit reviewed 16 harassment claims between 1997 and 2010. The report found both formal and informal claims were handled according to policy in all cases, but issues exist.

"All the sexual harassment claims should be handled in a more serious manner," the report said.

The DSU harassment policy doesn't have a cumulated or multiple claims aspect written into it.

Therefore, several claims can be made against an individual over a period of time without the results of the current investigation being clearly able to take into account past conduct, the report said.

One person had six claims made against him/her in a five-year period, the report stated. The report did not give any indication of the identity of this person or if he or she is still at the university. Neither Coston nor Goetz had further information Friday.

<•> Exit interviews. The audit found several DSU employees who chose not to complete the manual exit interview survey due to concerns the information would not reach the appropriate people.

The audit said human resources seemed to follow policy and procedures, but recommended all exit interviews be completed online and received outside of DSU.

"This will further strengthen the internal controls within the process and will allow those completing the exit interviews to be more honest and descriptive without a fear of people on campus knowing sensitive matters and using that information in a retaliatory manner against either the departing employee or his or her co-workers who will be continuing in their employment at DSU," the report said.

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State Auditor Bob Peterson said his office is also working on a performance audit of Dickinson State University that will be completed and presented to state legislators in late March.

Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications Co.

Related Topics: DICKINSONEDUCATION
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