Image Credit: Tennessee State University / Facebook
The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
The former finance director for Tennessee State University has alleged that she tendered her resignation after she was asked to alter financial records and censor information that was provided to state auditors.
During a Facebook Live stream last week, Dywuana Morris said that she had become increasingly uncomfortable with many of the decisions being made in the finance department of the university, leading her to resign from her role on January 3.
One of the requests made was that she make changes to original copies of financial reports that Morris thought to be already finalized. She made reference to university leaders having an “agenda” for those alterations.
“To be asked to sign off on and to be a part of changing numbers that I’m not even aware of what the purpose of the change, and it’s not because of an error, it’s because of an agenda,” Morris said. “I just could not be a part of it.”
Morris previously worked as a city comptroller in Memphis before being hired by TSU last year.
“Each day, I continue to feel uncomfortable with the choices that are being made by TSU financial leadership as it relates to the university’s financial statements and related transactions,” Morris stated.
According to a statement released by the university, the changes were requested “to ensure any post year-end adjustments have been captured.”
“These adjustments are subject to audit and in fact are shared with auditors prior to the conclusion of their work,” the statement continued. “This is part of the normal course of business and should not be attributed to any ulterior motives.”
The university also says that Morris would have known what those adjustments entailed if she had attended a virtual meeting that she was invited to in December.
TSU has found itself in hot water recently over state audit reports that cited several instances of mismanagement of finances. A report released by the Tennessee Comptroller in November showed a number of significant financial transactions that had not been properly recorded and said that officials had “continued to disregard basic financial controls.”
The university says they have instituted new processes to prevent issues like this going forward. They also say they have hired an accounting firm to do an independent review regarding Morris’ claims and to provide recommendations on further improvement of their financial policies.
The university is also under fire for housing thousands of students in hotels during the fall semester because of a shortage of on-campus housing. The Comptroller’s office is also reviewing the university’s management of housing and scholarship programs and plans to present that report to lawmakers in February.
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com