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Shepherd defended by Dunlop

June 21, 1998|By CLYDE FORD

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Shepherd College President David Dunlop recently searched for an umbrella under a sofa in his office and pulled out an old laptop computer.

A professor turned in the computer about a year ago because the machine was no longer useful because of insufficient memory to run current software programs. Somehow the computer ended up under his sofa.

West Virginia legislative officials recently blasted Shepherd College because of a state audit report that showed 10 problems at the school, including five missing computers, checks not deposited within 30 days and one check not put in the bank for at least 22 months.

Dunlop said he believes the audit report is helpful to the college in correcting some accounting problems, but he defended the integrity of the college staff.

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"The report clearly states not a single penny was missing," Dunlop said.

The audit was from July 1, 1990, to June 30, 1996, before he took over as president. Many of the auditors' recommendations were already being put in place by the staff when he took over as president on July 15, 1996, Dunlop said.

"As problems were discovered, new procedures were being put in place to correct them," Dunlop said.

Checks were kept in a safe and as they accumulated, they were taken to a bank, Dunlop said. He said he did not know why one check, totaling less than $1,000, took 22 months to deposit.

"We have honest employees here. There was no misuse of the money. Yes, there were some sloppy procedures and yes, we have corrected them," Dunlop said.

The accounts had $10.8 million between July 1994 and June 1996. Five computers valued at $9,000 were missing during the audit.

Dunlop said the computers were out-of-date and should have been written off as surplus.

He said the computers were carried on the books at their original purchase price instead of being depreciated.

"What they're worth today is nothing," Dunlop said.

The audit report listed Shepherd College as incorrectly paying eight employees from a Student Union account, where money for room and board is deposited. Dunlop said state law allows for the money in the Student Union account to be used for students living on campus.

He said he believes the college will be able to convince the auditors the college was using the funds properly because the eight employees work for the students living on campus.

Auditors plan to return to the college in six months and make sure their recommendations are being followed.

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