Chancellor says he was mistaken about Holland e-mail
(Dec. 14, 2007)
East Carolina University Chancellor Steve Ballard said today that he was wrong when he reported earlier that he did not read an e-mail about a scholarship and job for a relative of ECU Athletics Director Terry Holland.
“It turns out that not only did I read the e-mail, but I also replied to it,” Ballard said. (The text of the e-mail exchange between Ballard and Holland, redacted to remove information protected by federal privacy law, is attached below.)
“The e-mail did not ask for approval for the arrangement, but it is clear from my response that I did not reject the idea,” Ballard said.
“I deeply regret any confusion or erroneous conclusions that my mistake caused,” the chancellor said. “I truly did not remember having seen the e-mail from 16 months ago.”
The email, sent by Holland on Aug. 22, 2006, referred to an arrangement that would provide financial assistance and a job in the athletics department for his relative, a non-athlete student at ECU. Holland canceled that arrangement, effective Sept. 30, 2007, and on Dec. 5 gave the university a check for $25,000 to cover the total amount of financial assistance and salary that the relative had received.
“I have already apologized to Mr. Holland for my actions,” Ballard said. “In light of these developments, I have given him my personal check for $12,500. It is appropriate that he and I share in returning these funds to the university.”
In a newspaper story on Dec. 6, Ballard was quoted as saying that although Holland sent the e-mail informing the chancellor and others of the relative’s situation, Ballard did not read it.
“That was incorrect,” Ballard said today. “It was my mistake and mine alone. I accept full responsibility for it.”
Ballard said he became aware of his error after he asked the university’s internal auditor to retrieve a copy of the e-mail in question from the university’s computer system. The auditor had begun an inquiry into the situation in the athletics department last summer after receiving an anonymous complaint.
The arrangement with the relative was a mistake, Ballard said. “My executive council has developed draft policies to ensure such mistakes will not occur again,” he said. “It is my responsibility to ensure these policies are finalized and properly executed.”
Ballard said he is also making changes to his own e-mail system, including internal reviews of any e-mails related to personnel actions.