Wheeling Jesuit alum raises the NASA issue

A Wheeling Jesuit U. alum has posted an open letter to the Towson MD-based Maryland provincial, Rev. James Shea, SJ, complaining about “the myopic arrogance of the oligarchy temporarily occupying the president’s office and permanently occupying the dual boards” of the university.

Their arrogance “has caused these scandals to explode throughout the blogosphere, newspapers, television, and talk-radio,” says Michael J. Fahy. “WJU’s public image created by the current regime, on a scale of 1 to 10, has been zero.”

He cites three issues, asking Fr. Shea to:

Remove the accused homosexual predator [trustee Rev. Thomas Gleeson, SJ] . . . . Reinstate the president [the ousted Rev. Julio Giulietti SJ] . . . . Restore accountability to the NASA program by requiring full disclosure of [interim President] Davitt McAteer’s oversight of the NASA debacle.

The third issue has been largely in the background since Giulietti was removed from office Aug. 6, but was a looming presence nonetheless, as noted in a lengthy Inside Higher Education report of Sept 8.

When Father Giulietti was fired, it was reasonable for outsiders to assume that a critical report from NASA on the university’s administration of federal funds might have had something to do with it.

The report, issued August 3,

suggested that NASA grant officers had failed to recognize the university’s double billing and other accounting errors on the order of $4 million.

Fahy smells a rat in the timing:

Immediately preceding the initial board action against Julio Giulietti, NASA issued an audit report highly critical of WJU. That timing cannot be dismissed as merely coincidental!

He apparently wants to say that the firing was timed to follow the NASA report, rather than the other way around, though his letter is

 murky on the point — in which case the Sept. 8 Inside Higher Ed piece makes or implies the same point.

[I]f the trustees who ousted Father Gulietti [sic] were upset about the NASA report, their selection of McAteer as acting president is puzzling. As university vice president, McAteer had oversight of the NASA projects, according to board members.

A month earlier Inside Higher Ed quoted from the report:

An audit by NASA’s inspector general has found that the U.S. space agency “inappropriately approved, obligated, and partially expended” more than $4-million in costs incurred at Wheeling Jesuit University, in West Virginia. As a result of the audit, the agency has agreed to renegotiate the rates it pays Wheeling Jesuit to run a center for encouraging the transfer of technologies between NASA and private industry.

Fahy wants “full disclosure of Davitt McAteer’s oversight of the NASA debacle.”

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