Audit results concern regents

Daily Editorial Board

Most University of Minnesota departments and processes that the Office of Internal Audit has reviewed this year still aren’t up to standard, the Minnesota Daily reported Monday.
 
Departments have implemented only about 16 percent of the year’s recommended actions so far, the Board of Regents learned at a committee meeting earlier this month. Officials published the year’s audit plan in June.
 
University officials said 16 percent compliance isn’t very alarming, given the often-complicated procedures departments must undertake to make changes. Regents, however, expressed concern that compliance is so low.
 
While we understand the University’s bureaucracy can create obstacles to implementing changes, we share the regents’ concern. 
 
It seems unreasonable that the vast majority of recommendations would still be incomplete after weeks or months have passed since an audit. The 16 percent compliance figure suggests a lackluster approach to maintaining standards to which the University has committed itself.
 
University administrators also said their goal for the year was to secure 40 percent compliance from departments. Some regents said this number is too low, and we agree. A goal of less than 50 percent compliance is hardly aspirational. 
 
Some critics have said the lack of audit compliance makes sense because there are too many hoops departments must jump through. 
 
Despite understandable frustration over bureaucratic red tape, we feel it is important to have a culture of accountability, not distrust, between departments and administrators.
 
We encourage the University to consider simplifying its processes to promote more expedient change.