Wright State’s affiliation with research funding group ends in October

Wright State University leaders hope  to end financial support of WSARC, the Wright State Applied Research Corp., university trustees were told in June. FILE
Wright State University leaders hope to end financial support of WSARC, the Wright State Applied Research Corp., university trustees were told in June. FILE

It's uncertain today what ties may look like in the future

The affiliation agreement between Wright State University and Wright State Applied Research Corp., the school’s research funding arm, will expire at the end of October.

WSARC has acted as a contracting entity for the university and the Wright State Research Institute since October 2017 under a three-year agreement, according to the WSRI website.

The university and WSARC are exploring what that relationship will look like going forward, a Wright State spokesman said recently.

In June, Wright State administrators told university trustees that university leaders hope to end financial support for WSARC.

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While university officials have publicly said they intend to no longer financially support WSARC, they have also said WSRI will remain a department of the university.

A Wright State spokesman said there is no timeline on an explanation of final decisions regarding the relationship between the university and WSARC.

Wright State leaders are budgeting for fewer students. Administrators are expecting $210.2 million in total revenue and operating expenses in fiscal 2021, down from revenue of about $257 million this fiscal year.

The university’s enrollment has declined steadily since 2016, long before the COVID-19 pandemic, university leaders have said.

In June, administrations said about 10,700 students were expected in the fall semester.

Just over a year ago, a report from the Ohio auditor found that WSARC illegally paid a former consultant more than $1.3 million.

WSARC processed and approved 18 invoices for consulting services provided by Ron Wine Consulting Group, LLC from October 2013 to January 2015, according to the auditor’s report.

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WSARC made the payments despite not having a written consulting agreement in place to define the scope of the services for which the corporation was paying, the auditor found. The invoices submitted by Ron Wine Consulting also “lacked supporting documentation detailing the work performed,” the report said.

“I continue to have concerns about the system of checks and balances in place at Wright State University and its components,” state auditor Keith Faber said in July 2019. “These findings and results of previous investigations are strong indicators that previous school leaders should have had a much stronger system of controls in place to prevent mismanagement of funds.”

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WSARC is “fully responsible” for its own funding, according to the memorandum agreement between the university and the corporation, which is dated Oct. 23, 2017.

The term of the agreement is three years, the memorandum also states -- ending in October this year.

Dennis Andersh is executive director of WSRI and chief executive of WSARC. Questions sent to him recently by the Dayton Daily News were forwarded to a spokesman for Wright State.