- South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has said trustees at the Medical University of South Carolina must repay more than $560,000 in expenditures for hotel and dining accrued since 2011 and in connection with the board's bi-monthly meetings in Charleston.
- Trustee spending was profiled in the Post and Courier as part of an investigation, which prompted an Inspector General inquiry into the range of reimbursed public funds to trustees for dinners and lodging.
- A review of trustee spending at Clemson University and the University of South Carolina revealed expenditures totaling more than $1 million between the two schools over the same period.
While reimbursed spending is not a universal policy for university trustees nationwide, it does raise a concern that two prominent institutions and one smaller college can spend more than $1.5 million in hotels and food over a five year period. The findings in South Carolina will likely invite similar inquiries for neighboring institutions and states, and a review of how public funds are used in other venues for travel and entertainment.
College leaders must adjust to new levels of public inquiry about financial management. The days of board members, presidents and other campus executives being above scrutiny are gone in the age of social media and executive leaks to traditional media. The University of Virginia and the University of California System are just two examples of how one voice can launch an avalanche effect of media coverage and potential legislative review on the subject of how money is spent.