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State auditors question Citadel’s diversity, secret meetings

October 19, 2017

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — State auditors are criticizing the governing board of South Carolina’s military college for a lack of diversity, secret meetings and being too involved in cadet discipline.

A 92-page report on The Citadel was released Wednesday by the Legislative Audit Council.

Greenville Rep. Dwight Loftis had asked auditors last year to determine whether Citadel President John Rosa had too much authority in hiring, cadet discipline and setting salaries. But the audit largely focuses on the school’s board. Rosa plans to retire next year.

Rosa says the Charleston school welcomed the review but disagreed with some findings. Rosa notes The Citadel operates differently from other state-supported colleges and universities.

Auditors said a requirement that 11 of The Citadel’s board members be graduates limits diversity opportunities. A change in that policy would require the General Assembly to act.

Auditors also said the school’s board violated the state’s Freedom of Information Act by not including certain details in its minutes. The report also cites a case of a private meeting of the board at a members-only yacht club. Rosa said the gathering was social and no decisions were made.

The audit said no other state college or military school in the country involves its governing board in student disciplinary matters and said The Citadel’s Board of Visitors should stop doing that.

But Board President Fred Price opposes any change.

“I think where we are now, we have good oversight, good oversight over the discipline of cadets,” Price said.

Loftis said Wednesday he asked for the audit at the request of some Citadel graduates and former board members, but he said the results seem to show the board willingly ceded power to Rosa.

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