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Government

College of DuPage chairwoman suggests banning alcohol reimbursements

GLEN ELLYN – College of DuPage Board of Trustees Chairwoman Erin Birt has suggested a policy to ban college officials from expensing alcohol, and has designated board members to look at reimbursement policies and the College of DuPage Foundation Board's ties to the school.

In November it was revealed that college officials expensed questionable items at the on-campus Waterleaf Restaurant, including meals for trustees and more than $1,000 in alcohol for a trustee Christmas party.

Birt stated in a Wednesday memo to trustees she was "deeply troubled by the recent events."

She stated the board will review all travel and dining expenditure policies and prepare a draft prohibiting reimbursements for alcohol.

"It is disheartening that we find ourselves in this situation, and while the academic integrity of the college remains strong, we must take immediate and long-term action that is in the best interest of the school, our students and the community," she stated.

Birt appointed trustees Kathy Hamilton and Kim Savage to look into best practices for approving expenses and bring their recommendations to the board.

Additionally, Birt assigned trustees Dianne McGuire and Allison O'Donnell to review the Foundation Board.

“COD’s skeletons keep jumping out of its closets," Hamilton, who has been a vocal critic of her fellow trustees, said in a statement Thursday. "The taxpayer[s] are wise – and very well informed. Chair Birt has defiantly denied any problems, until yesterday’s mousey press release. This board has spent its credibility defending its leader, President Breuder. Let’s see how the elections turn out.”

Birt did not respond to a request for comment.

The college has come under financial fire recently, after giving President Robert Breuder a $762,868 early retirement deal, losing hundreds of thousands of dollars annually through Waterleaf, and a former employee's alleged theft of more than $200,000 from the campus radio station.

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