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Friday, May 25, 2007

A&T recinds naming building after former Chancellor

The N.C. A&T board of trustees has rescinded its prior decision to name the university's new School of Education building after former Chancellor James Renick.

The board made its decision Monday during a closed session.

Board chairwoman Velma Speight-Buford said the matter was brought back to the trustees by a board member after it was discovered that the trustees, who approved the honor two years ago, didn't follow the proper procedures. She declined to name the board member.

"It was procedural," Speight-Buford said. "When we did it, we didn't follow procedure."

She also declined to provide more details until proper notifications — including one to Renick — had been made.

The trustees' discussion — which resulted in a 5-2 vote to rescind with one trustee abstaining — was long and lively, Speight-Buford said.

Part of the conversation centered on internal audits requested by interim Chancellor Lloyd V. Hackley in late 2006.

Those audits were spurred by poor internal checks and financial irregularities.

A report on those audits was sent to UNC system President Erskine Bowles earlier this week, Speight-Buford said.

Although the audits were a topic of conversation during Monday's board meeting, mention of them was not made in the final vote to take Renick's name off the building, she said.

Earlier this year, Renick defended his almost seven year tenure at A&T, from July 1999 to May 2006.

"I am extremely proud of the accomplishments of the faculty, staff and students at North Carolina A&T State University while I was chancellor," Renick said in a statement. "During that time, state officials annually conducted a rigorous series of financial audits of the institution.

Those audits, which remain part of the public record, found no serious financial irregularities."

Speight-Buford left open the possibility that the building's naming could be revisited by the board.

The university's trustees voted two years ago to name the School of Education building after Renick, an honor that is unusual but not unheard of for a sitting administrator.

At the building's groundbreaking in November 2005, Renick called the honor the "highlight of my professional life."

Renick left the university last year to take a position at the American Council on Education.

The 58,000-square-foot School of Education building, which is under construction, is scheduled to be completed in December.

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