HE UNIVERSITY of Southern Mississippi took decisive action by placing three employees on administrative leave in a scandal involving a pilot laptop program for students. One employee, former Provost Bob Lyman, resigned his post to join the faculty.
This is a start. But obviously much more needs to be known before USM can put the scandal to rest. State Auditor Stacey Pickering and the College Board should make a thorough investigation.
At issue is whether the university followed state contract laws and College Board policies when it bought 700 Samsung Galaxy tablets from Blackboard for $432,000, as part of a pilot program to distribute them to students.
It’s unclear whether the university offered the contract for public bid, which the law requires for purchases of more than $50,000 by state agencies. Moreover, USM may not have gotten approval from the College Board, which is necessary when a contract’s value exceeds $250,000.