University of Oklahoma releases audit regarding former vice president for University Community
OKLAHOMA CITY – The University of Oklahoma has released an internal audit regarding the resigned vice president for University Community Jabar Shumate.
Shumate announced his resignation earlier this week, saying he was “forced out,” given the choice to resign or be terminated.
He was hired on as the first vice president after the 2015 scandal involving the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity singing racist chants. Shumate served also as the Chief of Diversity, leading the school’s Office of University Community, which was moved into the ousted fraternity’s old house.
In the announcement, Shumate said he learned that the school would be reinstating SAE and moving the Office of University Community out of that house.
“Of course, part of the reason that this is happening is because Mr. Shumate made it clear to the university that he didn`t think that that was a smart move,” said Shumate’s attorney, Lindsey Mulinix-Ewert.
But in a statement, an OU spokesperson denied SAE will be reopening a chapter at OU. They also said Shumate was fired after he was confronted with an audit that found “a significant misuse of university assets.”
He said he will be considering taking legal action against the school, including an EEOC complaint and a discrimination lawsuit.
“I feel forced to make this decision not only as a result of my involuntary resignation, but due to false accusations the university has made and I anticipate will be making against my character,” Shumate said. “The nature of these allegations are not only slanderous but from my perspective constitute a high-tech lynching.”
An OU spokesperson responded with the following written statement:
“When confronted with an audit that concluded last week, which revealed a significant misuse of university assets, Jabar Shumate resigned and the university accepted his resignation. OU highly values and appreciates the position of the chief diversity officer and the office of university community. Because this was not a preplanned exit, the university has not yet named an interim chief diversity officer. We are seeking new leadership for that position immediately.”
The SAE fraternity is not reopening a chapter at the University of Oklahoma and the audit and discovery of misuse of funds had nothing to do with this topic.”
On Thursday, the university released their internal audit, which cites Shumate as using a university vehicle, a 2016 Chevy Tahoe, for personal use. It also states Shumate drove the vehicle several times to Tulsa, his hometown, and to his home in Norman.
The audit says Shumate also used the OU Fleet Fuel card to purchase 18.6 gallons of gas for a total of $62.88, totaling $3.38 per gallon.
"This price per gallon is rather high, considering he purchased gas at the same station a week before at $2.31 per gallon and then in Houston a couple of days later for $2.48 per gallon," the audit states. "Consequently, other non-gas items were most likely purchased on the OU Fleet Fuel card against university policy."
Between March 2nd through 4th, 2018, Shumate traveled to Austin, Texas, by plane. He claimed that he drove a personal vehicle to and from the airport. Shumate was then reimbursed $18.33 for mileage from his home in Norman to the Oklahoma City airport and back home.
"However, in reviewing the logs from the GPS in the 2016 Tahoe, the Tahoe was driven to and parked at the OKC airport from March 2nd to March 4th, 2018. The times that the vehicle was parked at the airport coincide with Mr. Shumate's flight times," the audit reads.
The audit states there was a similar incident when Shumate traveled to Lubbock, Texas in June 2018.
According to the audit, "these two instances result in false travel claims since he drove a university vehicle, but was reimbursed as if he drove a person vehicle to and from the airport."
Shumate released a statement saying in part, "Contrary to the claims in the University's written statement released last night, I was never confronted with an audit. The University of Oklahoma has chosen not to disclose the details of their audit directly to me or my attorneys."
OU released a statement over plans for the future of the SAE fraternity saying, "There are no current plans to reinstate the SAE fraternity at OU as confirmed by the SAE national chapter. If the return of SAE were to be considered in the future there would be extensive university-wide discussions beforehand. The former SAE house currently holds several University Community staff, but because it is not a feasible permanent location for university functions, discussions about future space have been underway for quite some time. The university will continue to reevaluate real estate needs."