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VSU working on improvements after state auditor’s findings

Jeremy Lazarus | 3/15/2016, 8:31 p.m.
That’s the verdict of the state auditor of public accounts after completing Virginia State University’s financial audit for fiscal year ...
Ms. Mavredes

Improved, but could be better.

That’s the verdict of the state auditor of public accounts after completing Virginia State University’s financial audit for fiscal year 2015 that ended June 30.

Auditor Martha S. Mavredes found VSU to be financially sound and reported that the university had “improved how it budgets (for) room and board so that its estimates more accurately reflect actual trends.” That was not the case in 2014, when the university was blindsided by a steep drop in student numbers.

However, Ms. Mavredes recommended more in-depth financial planning on such auxiliary enterprises “since some have financial deficits or are projected to have deficits (such as the new Multipurpose Center) and will rely on positive cash positions of other auxiliary enterprises to operate in the near term.”

Among other issues, she also found VSU had not done enough to protect sensitive computer data.

“The university is increasing the risk for system vulnerabilities and threats to go undetected by not including all sensitive Information Technology systems in its IT Security Audit Plan and Risk Management documentation.”

She did note the university plans to correct all deficiencies by October 2016.

Ms. Mavredes also found problems in the university’s documentation of its inventory, particularly surplus items that are to be sold or otherwise disposed of.

In response, Keith Davenport, VSU’s chief financial officer and vice president for administration, promised action to address most of the issues Ms. Mavredes raised.

For example, he stated that he plans in March to provide the VSU Board of Visitors with financial projections for the auxiliary enterprises based on various scenarios, as well as an action proposal.

Mr. Davenport also noted that the university continues to address “weaknesses from information security audits,” including hiring a chief information security officer. He stated VSU also plans to hired dedicated IT security personnel and satisfy all the requirements of the state’s IT security standards.

As for inventory, VSU recently hired a firm to help with improvement efforts.