Ohio House leader says Wright State ‘can’t handle themselves’

WSU trustees chair says audit will be made public ‘hopefully soon’

Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, said Thursday that he advised his House members to use caution when dealing with Wright State University.

“I said use caution on everything because clearly they can’t handle themselves right now,” he told the Dayton Daily News.

Also Thursday, WSU trustees chairman Michael Bridges said that the findings of an audit into failings that contributed to a federal investigation and possibly other controversies will be made public "hopefully soon."

Wright State has paid $309,750 — and counting — for the work of auditing firm Plante Moran, and another $108,000 to the law firm Dinsmore and Shohl.

Rosenberger’s advice to his colleagues indicates a rupture in the relationship between the Miami Valley’s largest four-year public university and state lawmakers.

WSU President David Hopkins said in a written statement that he is "deeply saddened" to see the comment from Rosenberger, who is a WSU graduate.

“These recent allegations have been a challenge for us all. Where needed, we have taken steps to modify and/or design new processes to ensure best practice compliance in the operations of our university,” Hopkins wrote.

“I know (Rosenberger) is disappointed. But the overwhelming evidence shows that our people are having a profound, positive impact on our students, the region and the state of Ohio. It is time for everyone to put these allegations in perspective and allow the ongoing reviews to be completed.”

Hopkins also said he is “extremely proud of how our faculty, staff, students and alumni have responded,” and cited the “ongoing support of our larger community.”

Meanwhile, university officials so far have refused to publicly release Plante Moran’s audit findings.

That work comes as the school faces a federal criminal investigation into possible misuse of a work visa program involving top university administrators; a state probe into lobbying activity; and a review requested by Rosenberger of emails between consultant Ron Wine and Hopkins.

“We as a board want to give the administration an opportunity to address the issues that are in there because we are obviously trying to use that in a very constructive way to help us better understand from an outside agency what are the things we didn’t see that we should’ve seen that we need to be working on,” Bridges said at the WSU trustees meeting at the student union.

He said parts of the audit deal with the ongoing criminal investigation, and he hopes to release the entire audit once attorneys give approval.

“I believe that in time all of this will be shared, as it should be, with the public,” Bridges said.

About the Author