The President and the Board of Trustees of the American University of Beirut (AUB) condemned on June 18, 2012 the ongoing campaign of negative attacks against the University by a former trustee.
A June 16, 2012 article in Al Akhbar, targeted to students, renewed year-old allegations of widespread corruption. President Peter F. Dorman noted AUB’s “objection in the strongest terms to the deliberate and ongoing campaign, via e-mail broadcast and the media, to damage and discredit the reputation of Lebanon’s most esteemed university.”
The former trustee first leveled his allegations publicly after he was not invited to join the AUB board for an additional three year term.
“The AUB Board took immediate steps to review these allegations,” noted President Dorman. The Board formed an independent committee of trustees, chaired by AUB trustee Ayman Asfari, CEO of Petrofac, to conduct a comprehensive eight-month investigation. The committee employed independent legal counsel, as well as a team of chartered accountants, to execute its review.
The Committee reported on its findings in March 2012. It found no evidence of fraud, corruption, or conflict of interest by AUB’s management. It did identify certain areas where administrative systems and controls should be improved. Overall, the Committee found that the issues raised by the former trustee had been addressed previously by the Board of Trustees and management, were currently being addressed, or were unsubstantiated. The Board of Trustees unanimously adopted the conclusions and recommendations of the committee. These were welcomed by President Dorman as they build on the significant investments, new senior staff appointments, and other improvements that have been an ongoing priority of his administration since he took office in 2008. “We have moved on from this issue,” said President Dorman, “and our focus, as always, remains on excellent education, research for the benefit of the region and superior medical care.”
Committee Chair Asfari said, “We conducted a thorough, comprehensive and independent investigation. AUB’s executive and management cooperated fully with all aspects of the process and provided unrestricted access to all information that was requested. We made several recommendations to improve the controls. Management agreed with all the recommendations and their implementation is underway. I am absolutely satisfied with the findings of the investigation and it has renewed my confidence in the leadership of this important university.”
AUB Board chair Philip Khoury noted that “AUB and its Medical Center have served the citizens of Beirut, Lebanon, and the Arab world for almost 150 years. Through difficult and tragic times, AUB has never closed or diminished its commitment to the betterment of individual lives and the region. We are truly fortunate to have great trustees and a strong and dedicated administration under President Dorman to carry us into the future.”
Professor Nabil Dajani, President of AUB’s Worldwide Alumni Association said that “AUB has educated our children, our parents and our grandparents. We will not allow its reputation and indeed, all of our reputations as alumni, to be tarnished.”
AUB President Peter Dorman concluded that “in my four years as President of AUB, I have met thousands of alumni and supporters who, without exception, hold the university in high esteem, as a beacon of positive values in the Middle East, and an institution that has transformed their lives and the region. I pledge my administration to the pursuit of the overarching principles of openness and integrity and to providing the highest quality education to our students.”