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Audit Audit of the University of Massachusetts Amherst

This audit examined the University of Massachusetts Amherst's activities related to its inventory of IT assets, expenditures made with procurement cards, and services for students covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The audit examined the period of July 1, 2014 through December 31, 2016.

Organization: Office of the State Auditor
Date published: October 29, 2018

Executive Summary

In accordance with Section 12 of Chapter 11 of the Massachusetts General Laws, the Office of the State Auditor has conducted a performance audit of the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst for the period July 1, 2014 through December 31, 2016.

In this performance audit, we examined certain UMass Amherst activities related to the inventory of its information technology assets, certain expenditures made using its procurement cards (Procards), and the administration of certain services for students who are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Below is a summary of our findings and recommendations, with links to each page listed.

Finding 1

Restricted purchases (though they appeared to be business related and would be allowable with other purchasing mechanisms) were made with university Procards.

Recommendations

  1. If UMass Amherst wants to allow its staff to purchase restricted items using Procards, management should amend the university’s Procard User Guide accordingly. At a minimum, the amendment should specify the process for documenting waiver approval as well as the amounts and categories of restricted purchases that can be approved.
  2. If UMass Amherst management does not want to make this policy change, it should take whatever measures it deems necessary to ensure that no restricted purchases are made with university Procards.
  3. UMass Amherst should ensure that all Procard transactions are supported by proper documentation such as monthly statements and receipts.

Finding 2

Procard users made dovetail transactions totaling $6,204.

Recommendation

UMass Amherst management should review and update the university’s definition of dovetail purchases, amend its Procard User Guide accordingly, and provide additional user training to ensure that cardholders understand the definition of dovetailing.

Finding 3

The UMass Amherst Office of Environmental Health and Safety did not document personal emergency action plans for students with disabilities.

Recommendations

  1. UMass Amherst should ensure that it documents each student’s personal emergency action plan in the student’s file, along with information on who discussed the plan with the student and when.
  2. UMass Amherst should consider using the National Fire Protection Association planning guide to develop an emergency evacuation planning checklist for use during meetings with students.

Finding 4

The UMass Amherst Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity did not always follow its policy for resolving student grievances.

Recommendations

  1. UMass Amherst management should review and update the UMass Amherst Grievance Policy and Procedures to clarify the timeframes and definitions for both mediation and investigation, as well as the required documentation, to ensure compliance with this policy.
  2. If UMass Amherst management does not want to make this policy change, it should take the measures necessary to ensure that a written agreement is entered into among all parties if any informal attempt at settlement goes unresolved for more than 30 calendar days.

 

A PDF copy of the audit of the University of Massachusetts Amherst is available here.

List of Abbreviations

ADA

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

EH&S

Office of Environmental Health and Safety

EO&D

Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity

IT

information technology

NFPA

National Fire Protection Association

Procard

procurement card

UMass

University of Massachusetts

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