December 02,2005

Grassley Says American University Oversight Will Focus on Board’s Work


To: Reporters and Editors
Re: American University’s response to Chairman Grassley
Da: Friday, Dec. 2, 2005

Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Committee on Finance, yesterday received a written response from American University as he requested in an Oct. 27 letter. He made the following comment on the status of his oversight regarding American University.

“My Finance Committee staff has met with students, faculty, alumni, and former boardmembers about the American University board’s decisions regarding then-president BenjaminLadner’s compensation and severance package. In these meetings, they have expressed strongconcern about whether the current board members are capable of moving American Universityforward. Based on these conversations, and on information received by the committee since I beganmy investigation in October, my oversight of American University now will be focused on whetherthe current board members have performed their duties and responsibilities to the standard of whatshould be expected for such a major university. In my charitable oversight, I’ve found again andagain that board governance is vital to whether a charity is successful or not. I’m looking atlegislative reforms that will encourage and empower boards to have more oversight of theiroperations. The best way to avoid problems like Benjamin Ladner’s excessive compensation andseverance is for boards to know that the buck stops with them.”

American University’s response to Chairman Grassley will be posted today at under the Chairman's press releases.