OU audit shows improper use of state vehicle led to firing

OU audit shows improper use of state vehicle led to firing

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — University of Oklahoma's former chief diversity officer illegally used a university vehicle hundreds of times to commute to and from work and make personal family trips, according to an internal OU audit released on Thursday.

The audit was requested after allegations surfaced about improper use of an OU vehicle by Vice President of University Community Jabar Shumate. The former state senator was hired three years ago amid campus unrest after videos surfaced showing fraternity members singing racist chants.

The audit includes GPS data that shows Shumate's university-owned 2016 Chevrolet Tahoe parked overnight at his residence hundreds of times. It also shows Shumate took the vehicle to Tulsa over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, including stops at his mother's home.

Shumate resigned from the university this week. On Wednesday, he held a news conference where he said he was forced to step down based on false allegations that amounted to a "high-tech lynching."

In a statement Thursday, Shumate said he is suspicious of the information contained in the audit and says its release is part of an attempt by OU officials to "assassinate my character."

"The university was well aware of my vehicle usage and therefore sanctioned it," Shumate said.

The chief diversity officer position was created in 2015 after videos surfaced showing Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity members at the university singing racist lyrics. The university closed the fraternity house and banned the chapter from campus.

Shumate said he "was recently informed" that the university is reinstating the fraternity.

"Of course, part of the reason this is happening is because Mr. Shumate made it clear to the university that he didn't think that was a smart move," said Lindsey Mulinix-Ewert, Shumate's attorney.

The school denied any such plans.

"The SAE fraternity is not reopening a chapter at the University of Oklahoma and the audit and discovery of misuse of funds had nothing to do with this topic," the university's statement said.

The university said that it's still looking for an interim chief diversity officer to replace Shumate.

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