I am a trustee of Berkeley Divinity School and the chair of its audit and procedures committee (“audit committee”). I am writing to summarize the conclusions of that audit committee regarding examination of the finances and financial procedures of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale made by (i) Yale University, (ii) the attorney general of the State of Connecticut, and (iii) Deloitte & Touche. The Berkeley board of trustees has approved the report of the audit committee.
The audit committee recognizes that financial controls at Berkeley had been weak for a long time. There was no audit committee in place. There was no Berkeley finance and business manager accountable to the Berkeley board. Thankfully, the integrity of Berkeley employees and administration meant that this lack of systemic discipline did not result in any misappropriation or other loss of funds.
One complaint common to all three reports was that the board was more generous in compensation than the minimum required (for example, in authorizing favorable loans to allow the purchase of housing by faculty members, and in authorizing an additional tuition payment for Dean Franklin’s daughter beyond the minimum specified in his contract). The compensation arrangements complained of in the reports go back as far as 1989. There can be differences of judgment as to what is appropriate compensation. The attorney general felt strongly that the board had used poor judgment in authorizing a tuition payment for Dean Franklin’s daughter beyond the minimum requirement of his contract, and recommended that board members make an offsetting personal donation, which has been done. There was no allegation of impropriety. Going forward, there will be more precise standards as to additional compensation.
A second complaint noted in the reports is that expenses that should have been allocated to unrestricted funds (for example, student retreats and colloquia) were allocated to restricted funds intended for scholarships. Again, this was a judgment call as to whether standards for the use of restricted funds are met. Going forward, there will be more discussion of the interpretation of the uses of the restricted funds. In the interim, unrestricted funds in the amount complained of are being shifted back to restricted funds.
A third complaint noted in the reports is that certain back up receipts were not found for expenses paid, that pre-2001 documentation for loans were poorly maintained, and that tax reports were poorly done. There can be no defense of poor record keeping and imprecise reporting. Again, there was no allegation of impropriety. Going forward, there will be improved record keeping and reporting.
The Public Record
The Yale report and the attorney general’s report were both reported on in the press. The Yale report, which was drafted as an internal report to Yale, has not been made available to be distributed to the public. The Deloitte & Touche report corrected certain factual errors in the Yale report, which had previously been reported as fact in the press. Copies of the full Deloitte & Touche report and the Connecticut attorney general report are available from Pamela Wesley at Berkeley (203/764-9359).
As to former dean R. William Franklin, it is the audit committee’s finding, as affirmed by the Berkeley board of trustees in approving the Committee’s report, that Dean Franklin has acted with the highest standards of personal integrity, and that any report to the contrary is inaccurate.
The system has been and is continuing to be reformed. An audit committee is now in place. The board has retained Deloitte & Touche as auditor. We hope that, with God’s grace, the lessons learned will be applied to the improvement of Berkeley Divinity School.
— G. William Haas
New York, New York
G. William Haas is a partner in the law firm of
Morrison Cohen Singer & Weinstein.
Comes Full Circle
It was after flying to a place I knew nothing about, to attend an event I had never heard of, at a school I didn’t even know existed, that my indescribable inclining towards ministry clarified and deepened into a life-consuming passion for ministry in the local church.
With four other high school friends, I flew to Regina, Saskatchewan, in March 1990—yes that’s right, Regina in March—to attend the Youth Conference at Canadian Bible College and Theological Seminary. It was over that weekend of incredible worship, impassioned teaching, and—to be honest—unabashed craziness, that God was able to speak to me clearly about what would be truly satisfying for me as his child. It was that weekend where my life was finally put into the context of the kingdom’s arrival, and I heard for the first real time the challenge to be one of those “forceful men [who] lay hold of it.”
When we are challenged to communicate “what the big issues are that we wrestle with” to those young people that we want to study in our schools, I am reminded that it was the all-encompassing vision of ministry I heard about that weekend which propelled me into a full-time ministerial vocation. Coming full circle, nothing gives me greater pleasure as a member of the board of governors at Tyndale College & Seminary than to interact with students, especially through our own high school discovery event, Sudden Impact, which occurs in February 2003.
— Jacob Birch
Jacob Birch is pastor of Erin Village Alliance Church and a member of the board of governors of Tyndale College & Seminary, Toronto.
Editor’s Note: The photographs by Brenda Brewer and Shane Sterk in the Autumn 2002 Issue accompanying Kenneth Briggs’s story “Go Out Into All the World” were taken at an outdoor chapel service at Hope College, adjacent to Western Theological Seminary. Western’s professor of preaching, Tim Brown, serves a dual role by leading Hope’s chapel staff in addition to his responsibilities at the seminary.