Haskell Indian Nations University faces Interior Dept. investigation

The U.S. interior secretary is investigating allegations of mismanagement at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence.

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas spoke by telephone last week with Secretary Ken Salazar about concerns involving personnel, money matters and ethics violations at the school.

Then on Tuesday, Roberts and others in the Kansas delegation followed up with a letter about "troubling issues."

"Secretary Salazar has already assured the senator that he would investigate this in a timely manner," said Kendra Barkoff, his spokeswoman.

Calls to the university Tuesday were not returned, but George Tiger, president of Haskell's Board of Regents, responded that he felt "like we are just being used as a political football, for political gain. Nothing in terms of mismanagement is going on here.

"I'm appalled and surprised these legislators even sent this letter," he said. "I hope this same aggressiveness they are using with this letter is put into finding more funding for Haskell. We are underfunded."

The request for inquiry was prompted by letters received by lawmakers alleging cyberbullying tactics, squandered federal funds and other issues.

One letter from Ted Wright, a former Haskell vice president, called the leadership "an embarrassment" to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which governs the institution.

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