Sunday, October 26, 2008

Felner case may bring U of L new scrutiny on grants

This morning Chris Kenning followed up on the future of grant attainment at UofL. Good article, but I think it's too soon to tell how the Ville might be affected.

This from the Courier-Journal:

School officials don't anticipate problems
...National experts say that's generally true, but caution that U of L could face more scrutiny on future grants, and more skepticism with its applications.

"Universities with a good reputation for managing money have a tendency to get more," said Edward Waters, former president of the Washington-based National Grants Management Association. "Federal dollars are getting tight, and most grants are competitive. This kind of situation is definitely not a plus." ...
...Granting agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institutes of Health, say a pattern of fraud or a seriously flawed system of oversight would have to emerge before a school would risk a cutoff of funding.

"Generally, one case will not unduly prejudice an institution's chances of getting future grants," said Don Ralbovsky, a spokesman for the National Institutes of Health. "It typically doesn't have a chilling effect unless there is a pattern." ...
So, UofL officials are whistling a happy tune.
...they are confident that the university won't see its momentum derailed. "In light of the fact that the university brought this issue to the attention of the feds, I think just the opposite," said Judy Bristow, head of the university's grants-management office. She said she doesn't believe the Felner scandal will prompt more scrutiny from granting agencies...
...But that wasn't the case at Florida A&M University which also had a professor in the federal doghouse.

In June ... professor Patricia Walker McGill pleaded guilty to stealing money from federal literacy grants, in part by requiring "kickbacks" from pass-through grant recipients, according to the U.S. Education Department's inspector general.

That prompted granting agencies to require more assurances that the money going to McGill's Institute on Urban Policy and Commerce would be safeguarded, and it prompted the university to require more oversight.
Of course Florida A&M had another recent embarrassment that may have undermined grantor's confidence in that university's integrity.
Kentuckians may recall federal prosecutors jailed attorney Shirley Cunningham who funded a $1 million scholarship at F A & M with some of the $46 million he and two other lawyers allegedly obtained fraudulently from his clients in Kentucky's fen-phen case. Then he bought an 80% stake in champion Thoroughbred, Curlin. Last I heard, Cunningham was still "a guest of the state."
If problems continue, universities or nonprofit organizations can be deemed "high-risk," which can limit grants to reimbursement, or even be barred from receiving funds, said Waters, who has practiced grants law for two decades in Washington, D.C.
So apparently, any pattern that undermined confidence in a university's integrity might contribute to a harsher review before grants were awarded.
So confidence in UofL ought to be fairly high. Unless you count this.....and this.

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