No Decision on ASU Pres. Silver's Future; Board Approves Audit

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By Jessica Gertler

CBS 8 News is Everywhere with team coverage as the Alabama State University Board of Trustees delays its decision on the fate of suspended President Joseph Silver.

The meeting didn't last longer than 30 minutes. The focus was on Silver and his future with the university, but that was all put aside when his personal life was brought into the mix.

ASU President Joseph Silver made his way into the the Acadome Friday morning hoping for answers.

Silver had been placed on administrative leave by the Board of Trustee's Executive Committee Monday.

But minutes into the meeting, the board unanimously voted to postpone action and keep Silver on paid administrative leave since Silver's mother died last night in North Carolina.

When the board brought up his mother's death, Silver didn't look too happy.

"He might have wanted to go on, and we felt like we shouldn't," says Chairman of the Board Elton Dean.

In a statement released by Silver's attorney, he says he communicated to the board that his personnel status not be delayed because of his mother's death. He did however ask for a delay of action in order to exercise the due process clause of his contract.

Silver says he was suspended after he found questionable financial contracts.

While university leaders deny those allegations, the board voted to hire an independent, external firm, Warren Averett Wilson Price,  to audit the university's contracts.

"An independent and comprehensive audit of this university will be conducted immediately," says Governor Robert Bentley.

CBS 8 News has learned Warren Averett Wilson Price is the same firm ASU has been using since 2009 to run audits. A spokesperson with the firm says "this is a special engagement."

"The contracts that we have, It might not take that long. We think they are in order. If not, we wanted it pointed out to us," says Dean.

And just before the meeting ended, in a 7-2 vote, the board will bring former ASU President William Harris back as interim president.

Some were not so found of that decision.

"I think bringing Dr. Harris back for a third time is questionable. In terms of momentum of where we were," says Faculty Senate Chairman Charles Hardy.

CBS 8 News did try talking to Governor Bentley and various board members, but we were told the only person commenting on the board's actions is Chairman Dean.

 

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