A liberal university administrator at Texas A&M is being kept on as an employee even after an internal audit found she had “significant conflict of interest issues tied to business dealings” with her lesbian spouse.
According to reporting by the Bryan-College Station Eagle:
“Over the last seven years since Karen Watson took over as provost, Nancy Watson — owner of a conflict resolution company in Bryan-College Station — was paid $438,733 by the university for training services. The audit focuses only on $9,838 she was paid by the provost’s office and $105,767 from the Office for Diversity, which reports to the provost.
The inquiry found the arrangement violated the A&M System’s ethics policy and cited five areas in which the provost failed to comply with the university’s code of conduct.”
If such a flagrant violation an employer’s ethics policy occurred in the private sector Watson would be packing her bags and hoping she wouldn’t find herself in court, but because she’s employed by the government she’s merely being reassigned.
Despite serious ethics violations, the Eagle is reporting Watson will merely have to vacate her position a little earlier than was planned, and is expected to remain employed by the university.
A Texas Tech graduate, Karan Watson has been employed by Texas A&M since 1983, working up to the position of Provost and Executive Vice President. At Texas A&M, the position is one with significant power. Indeed, Watson has been referred to as the “second in charge for the university” by current Texas A&M President Michael Young.
Watson has held her post for seven years, and more importantly under four Texas A&M presidents (Robert Gates, R. Bowen Loftin, Mark Hussey, and Michael Young), all of whom have spent considerably less time in Aggieland. It’s Watson’s extended tenure which has allowed her to have outsized influence in the day-to-day management of the university.
Watson largely used that clout and influence to push Texas A&M to the left. One former student, Chris Woolsey, said that Watson led the fight against his proposal to allow students with sincerely held religious beliefs to opt-out from having their student fees used to support the university’s GLBT center.
“We wanted students to have a say whether or not their student fees funded homosexual resources,” said Woolsey. “Karan Watson saw students’ choice as a threat to her own liberal agenda and organized resistance within the administration to keep the university’s ‘social justice program’ intact.”
Scott Bowen, another former student who served as Speaker of the Student Senate from 2012 to 2013, said Watson’s wasn’t just a socially liberal administrator, but a fiscally liberal one as well.
“Watson supported every single fee and tuition increase that was proposed, and we now know it is because she was personally profiting from A&M’s wasteful spending,” said Bowen, who has graduated and currently works as a chemical engineer in Houston. “I hope our regents and our legislators take a hard look at this incident and others like it before giving colleges carte blanche to charge students even more.”
Shockingly despite being found in violation of the university’s policies, Watson still isn’t going anywhere – she’s simply leaving her post a little earlier than expected to become a professor.
Neither Watson nor her office responded to a request for comment by Texas Scorecard.
It’s a failure on the part of Texas A&M’s administration, specifically Dr. Young, to keep Watson on the payroll given her use of her position to not only enrich herself, but to impose her leftist beliefs on the university. It’s even more egregious considering that whistleblowers have been filing complaints – and auditors have been discovering them – for years.
That Watson could get away with so much for so long, and suffer so little repercussions isn’t just a poor reflection on Texas A&M, it’s an affront to taxpayers.