More than fundraising?

There has been a lot of scrutiny of AU President Benjamin Ladner's use of his expense account in the wake of an anonymous tip to the Board of Trustees. The informant alleged that Ladner fraudulently wrote off expenses as university related. This is a serious charge and should be investigated fully, but it should also be remembered that Ladner is innocent until proven guilty.

However, students and parents should keep the Board's feet to the fire and demand more details be released. As the ones who are paying ever-increasing tuition costs, they have the right to be fully abreast of the findings of the investigation launched by the school.

The Board is currently being evasive and owes the AU communitymore than a "no comment" response. Little is even known about how President Ladner goes about his finances through the school. He could very well have walked a fine line that while not illegal, would still set a bad precedent. It would behoove the University to better explain the process.

In addition, the fact that the accusation was made anonymously is also troubling. AU has a process for lodging complaints, and since the tip came from a university employee, they should have known about this. Not every whistleblower needs to be the next Deep Throat.

It is a shame that the momentum American has experienced since Ladner came to office has to be slowed because of a scandal. After years of failed presidents and a bad reputation, it seems American's best days are ahead. The school moved up in the U.S. News rankings again this year, which come out today. The school's capital campaign and fundraising have been outstanding, and Ladner's 15-point plan seems to be working. However, success and prestige does not mean Ladner deserves our blind trust.

No matter how much AU is lauded, nothing less than honest and open stewardship of student funds should be accepted.

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