LITTLE ROCK - Tim Hudson’s resignation as Arkansas State University chancellor Tuesday night followed an internal audit that found he appeared to have used his position to obtain financial assistance for one of his children.
In a report that was submitted to ASU System President Chuck Welch on Tuesday and released publicly Thursday, auditors cited emails to support their finding of potential violations of state law by Hudson.
In a Nov. 25 email to a person affiliated with the New York Institute of Technology, which operates a college of osteopathic medicine on ASU’s Jonesboro campus, Hudson wrote that his daughter “is very interested in NYIT — but frankly, we’d need some sort of help to make that a reality. Perhaps we can find a way to be mutually helpful,” according to the report.
In a Nov. 30 email to the same person, Hudson suggested that NYIT employees and their dependents be allowed to pay the in-state tuition at ASU and that dependents of ASU employees receive an equivalent discount at NYIT.
On Jan. 5, Hudson said in an email to the same person, regarding his daughter attending NYIT, that “we would need some substantial assistance to make this financially viable” and that if his daughter were to attend NYIT, “it would be seen as a mark of validation and ‘good for the order’ of all we are doing and plan to do together.”
On April 21, Hudson wrote in an email to the chancellor of Loyola University that Loyola had offered his daughter a scholarship, but “if there is any additional assistance that you or others might provide, I believe that would confirm … [my daughter’s] decision.” He also offered any assistance he could provide the university.
On April 28, Hudson said in an email to the president of the University of South Alabama that his family had to be “conscious of costs” and that “if there is anything that you or others might be able to provide at this point, I believe it would confirm … [my daughter’s] decision to attend South.” He offered any assistance he could provide the university.
Arkansas law prohibits public servants from using their positions to secure special privileges for themselves or family members.
Auditors also found that Hudson failed to report a potential conflict of interest. Hudson has served on the board of Grupo Sense de Madrid, a conglomerate that includes Multisense, a company that while Hudson was ASU chancellor became a third-party provider for an ASU study abroad program in Spain without a competitive bidding process.
In a Nov. 22, 2013, email, Hudson advised his wife, Deidra Hudson, then the director of ASU’s study abroad programs, to avoid discussing with others any budgeting or invoice matters regarding Multisense, saying that “you and I” will handle it. A university policy prohibits employees from having supervision over people to whom they are related.
Tim Hudson also failed to include in a statement of financial interest the fact that he received waived fees for a conference he attended in Spain in 2012, auditors found.
Auditors also said Deidre Hudson apparently used her position to secure a special privilege by asking the president of Multisense in February for permission to use his apartment during a planned trip to Spain.
About a week before Hudson resigned, a separate audit report cited a lack of organization in the study abroad programs. Deidra Hudson resigned last month.
Welch said in a statement Thursday, “The ASU System’s internal audit process functioned properly and successfully. The office received anonymous complaints on our system hot line and immediately initiated detailed reviews. To ensure purely independent reviews, I asked internal audit to conduct the reviews without my involvement until such time that all facts were presented.
“Once the audit facts were presented to me, steps were immediately taken to address each issue presented. We are disappointed in the findings and will take appropriate steps to prevent future incidents — as we always do following audits.”
ASU System spokesman Jeff Hankins said Welch would not comment on personnel issues. The audit reports have been transmitted to the state Division of Legislative Audit, Hankins said.
Hudson left no forwarding information for media inquiries, according to Hankins.
Hudson, whose annual salary was $360,000, will receive no severance pay but will receive accrued paid vacation time as required by law, Hankins said.