Auditors knock University of Nebraska’s expensive world travelers

The University of Nebraska has been dinged by the state auditor for allowing employees to spend nearly $96,000 on 20 first-class flights around the world, book $300-a-night oceanfront resort rooms for a week and get reimbursed for alcohol while traveling, in violation of state law.

While digging through travel records, auditors found 20 first-class airline tickets costing nearly $96,000 charged by the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

The state accounting manual requires reimbursement for flights be limited to coach fare, if it’s available. No reasons were given for the upgrades, according to State Auditor Mike Foley’s letter to the university.

Jack Gould, issues chairman for Common Cause Nebraska, said it’s not clear how widespread such high-flying spending is, but NU staffers should always be mindful.

“If you want to upgrade, that’s fine, but you should do it at your own expense,” he said of first-class flights. “Or if you want to have the finest room in the hotel, if you can afford it, go ahead. But you shouldn’t be putting the price on the university. Pay the difference.”

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