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MotlowStateCommunityCollege

SpecialReportComplaintsRegardingthePresident


June14,2017
AUDITNO.1619

AuditConductedby:
TennesseeBoardofRegents
OfficeofSystemwideInternalAudit

Motlow State Community College


Special Report Complaints Regarding the President
Table of Contents

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1
INTRODUCTION 2
AUDIT AUTHORITY 3
OBJECTIVES 3
SCOPE 4
RESTRICTION OF USE OF THIS REPORT 4
RESULTS OF THE REVIEW 4
Attempts to Interfere with the Investigation 4
The Presidents Reactions to the Investigation 6
Climate 8
Leadership 9
Dissemination of Personally Identifiable Information 10
International Studies 11
Student-Athlete Grades 12
Comments About Employees 13
Hiring Practices 14
Budget Votes 18
Re-imagining 19
Public Comments by the President 20
CONCLUSIONS 20
RECOMMENDATIONS 22
ATTACHMENT A 23
ATTACHMENT B 25
ATTACHMENT C 34

Tennessee Board of Regents


Office of System-wide Internal Audit
Special Report of Complaints Regarding the President of
Motlow State Community College
Executive Summary
Introduction
An administrative review was performed of allegations received from November 30, 2015 through March 1, 2017
by the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), Office of Systemwide Internal Audit, regarding actions of the President
of Motlow State Community College (the College). As the review progressed, additional allegations were received
regarding the Presidents management of the College, integrity, treatment of employees, and handling of personnel
matters. The President resigned on June 13, 2017, effective September 30, 2017.
Objectives
The objectives of this review included determining if the allegations made were substantiated; determining
compliance with applicable laws or policies; reviewing for appropriate administration of the college; and to
recommend corrective actions, if necessary.
Conclusion
The current control environment of MSCC exhibits many weaknesses in internal control. The climate and morale
on all four campuses were described in negative terms by most employees interviewed. The manipulation of both
people and information has created a sense of distrust among faculty and administrators that is deep, and was even
mentioned by several of those considered at one point to be supporters of the President. The pressure placed on
employees to do things they consider inappropriate or to take on unreasonable workloads is attributable to
employees fear of retribution and of being labeled as not being a team player. The Presidents persistent use of
fear, intimidation, hostility, and condescension as motivational tools was described by faculty, administrators, and
support staff from all campuses. The Presidents attempts to interfere with the investigation are symptomatic of his
leadership of the College.
Rather than demonstrating a commitment to integrity and ethical values, and attracting, developing, and retaining
competent individuals, the tone being set at the top reflects autocratic management, negativity, and undue
pressure, causing long-term employees to seek other employment. These factors have created an atmosphere that
is not sustainable for a campus attempting to manage growth and expansion.
Recommendations
The Chancellor and the Tennessee Board of Regents should take actions to address the leadership issues
noted in this report.
The College should revise its Hiring Policy to ensure that potential new hires and direct appointments are
reviewed in advance to ensure compliance with the Colleges Affirmative Action plan and applicable
requirements and regulations.
The College should develop a process for documenting all personnel actions, including documentation of
reviews and approvals, as well as the corresponding dates.
The College should develop a policy regarding Athletic Department and other administration contact with faculty
regarding students.
The College should develop a data handling and classification system that is communicated to all employees to
protect information assets to ensure that the institution maintains strict confidentiality, integrity, and availability
of information in compliance with applicable requirements and regulations.
The College should provide training on the data handling and classification system to all employees to educate
and foster a culture of security awareness. Training should include cybersecurity awareness, personally
identifiable information (PII), email use and encryption, password management, and guidelines for classifying
data.

Motlow State Community College


Special Report
Complaints Regarding the President

INTRODUCTION

Eight allegations were received from November 30, 2015 through March 1, 2017 by the
Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), Office of Systemwide Internal Audit, regarding
actions of the President of Motlow State Community College (the College). As the review
progressed, additional allegations were received regarding the Presidents management
of the College, integrity, treatment of employees, and handling of personnel matters. The
allegations have been included in broad categories based upon the common nature of
the various allegations.

Governance and Responsibilities for Operations

The TBR System is governed by the Board of Regents, with responsibility for the
operations of the System and its institutions. Their responsibility includes the employment
of the Chancellor and presidents and delegation of certain powers and responsibilities to
them for the administration of the System and their respective institutions and programs
(TBR Policy 1:02:02:00, Duties of the Board). The president of each community college
and director of each college of applied technology in the System is responsible for the
exercise of supervision and direction of the institution and the execution of all directives
of the Board and the Chancellor (TBR Policy 1:02:02:00, Duties of the Presidents and
Directors).

Within this governance structure and the directives communicated through policies,
strategic plans and budgetary authorizations, along with regulatory, legislative and other
requirements, presidents and directors have considerable responsibility to the Chancellor
and the Board, while allowed flexibility in the administration of their respective institutions.
The directives and external requirements establish parameters for operations, but many
decisions regarding programs, personnel and other institutional matters are made at the
institutional level. While some actions require approval of the Chancellor or Board, the
President has the authority to make many decisions regarding institutional operations.

Background

The administrative offices of Motlow State Community College are located on the
Tullahoma campus. The College also has campuses in Fayetteville, McMinnville, and
Smyrna.

The President of Motlow State Community College was hired by the Board, effective
August 1, 2015. The President initiated a reorganization of the campus in August 2015,
which he named the Re-imagining. As part of the reorganization, he formed two
administrative committees, the Leadership Team, and the Leadership Council.

The Leadership Team includes the President, Vice President for Finance and
Administration, Vice President for Quality Assurance and Performance Funding, Vice
President for Academic Affairs, Vice President for Student Affairs, and the Executive
Director of Human Resources. The Team meets three times per month. This body acts
as the Presidents cabinet.

According to the Colleges web site, the purpose of the Leadership Council (Council) is
to, Provide the opportunity to discuss on a regular basis issues/concerns and make
decisions on programmatic and budgetary matters; assure consistency of purpose to
improve service to students; provide an avenue to seek advice; and provide a forum for
the frank exchange of ideas and issues to assist the College in better serving our
customersthe students, receiving institutions, employers, taxpayers and other
employees. The Leadership Council meets once a month. (MSCC Policy 6:10:00:01)

The membership of the Council includes: President, Vice President for Academic Affairs,
Vice President for Finance and Administration, Vice President for Quality Assurance and
Performance Funding, Vice President for Student Affairs, Chair of the Administrative
Council, one administrative staff elected at large (must be from a different campus than
the Administrative Chair), Chair of the Faculty Council, one faculty member elected at
large (must be from a different campus than the Faculty Chair), one adjunct faculty
member (appointed by Faculty Council), Chair of the Support Staff Council, one support
staff elected at large (must be from a different campus than the Support Chair), and the
Student Government Association President.

AUDIT AUTHORITY

The Office of System-wide Internal Audit is authorized by the Tennessee Board of


Regents Audit Committee, in its Charter, to conduct reviews into any matter within the
Audit Committees scope of responsibility.

OBJECTIVES

The objectives of this review included:


Determine if the allegations made were substantiated.
Determine compliance with applicable laws or policies.
Review for appropriate administration of the college.
Recommend corrective actions, if necessary.

The review was conducted in accordance with the International Standards for the
Professional Practice of Internal Auditing, issued by the Institute of Internal Auditors, and
included tests considered necessary in the circumstances to meet the objectives of the
review.

SCOPE

The scope of an administrative review is limited to the records and information available
and may not disclose all relevant events and circumstances. Many of the concerns
received related to ethical issues, leadership, and morale. This review included
interviews of 61 current and former employees, the review of available college records,
and other procedures considered necessary to determine the climate at the College and
whether any regulatory or policy violations had occurred. As noted above, the formal
complaints received each included many allegations and concerns. When possible, we
sought documentation or evidence that would either refute or confirm the allegation.

RESTRICTION ON USE OF THIS REPORT

This report is intended solely for the internal use of the Tennessee Board of Regents and
Motlow State Community College. It is not intended to be and should not be used for any
other purpose. The distribution of the report to external parties must be approved by the
TBR Office of System-wide Internal Audit. However, this report is a matter of public
record.

RESULTS OF THE REVIEW

During the review, many similar concerns were related from various sources that while
not identical, followed parallel themes. On May 9, 2017, the TBR Chancellor met with the
President at the Presidents request. During that meeting, the Chancellor provided the
President with a draft discussion summary of overall concerns noted in the review at that
point (Attachment A). The President provided written responses to this summary
(Attachment B). Below is a summary of the most important allegations and concerns
organized into the subject areas noted below.

1. Attempts to Interfere with the Investigation

Despite being cautioned not to contact employees about the investigation, and not
to try to find out who had been interviewed, to avoid any potential claims by
employees of retaliation on the part of the President for their cooperation with the
investigation, we received numerous complaints that the President was contacting
certain employees regarding the investigation. He asked questions about who had
been interviewed, what documents were being requested, and details about the
subject matter of the investigation.

The President took specific actions in attempts to impugn the reputation and
credibility of the auditors and investigators involved in the review. Shortly after
meeting with the auditors on April 3, 2017, the President pressured an employee to
participate in these attempts. In one case, an employee refused the Presidents
directive to contact the chair of the search committee for the Chief Audit Executive
position to complain about the auditors. One of the auditors was a candidate for the
position. There was no contact with the committee, and no effect on the search.
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In the second case, an employee relented to the Presidents pressure, and complied
with his request by writing a letter that the President dictated to a Regent complaining
about the investigation. The letter, dated May 6, 2017, that was given to the Regent
stated that the President had asked the employee to write it.

Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 8-50-116, Reporting violations of state agency,


employee, or contractor states in part:

(a) (1) It is the intent of the general assembly that state employees
shall be encouraged to report verbally or in writing to their
supervisor, department head, or other appropriate authority or
entity, evidence of activity by a state agency or state employee or
state contractor constituting violations of state or federal law or
regulations, fraud in the operations of government programs,
misappropriation of state or federal resources, acts which
endanger the health or safety of the public or employees, and
mismanagement of programs, funds, or abuses of authority.
(2) The general assembly further finds and declares that public
servants best serve the citizens when they can be candid and
honest without reservation in conducting the public's business.
(3) It is the further intent of the general assembly that state
employees be free of intimidation or harassment when reporting
to public bodies about matters of public concern, including
offering testimony to, or testifying before, appropriate legislative
panels.
(b) (1) No head of any state department, agency or institution,
state employee exercising supervisory authority, other state
employee or state contractor shall recommend or act to
discharge, demote, suspend, reassign, transfer, discipline,
threaten or otherwise discriminate against a state employee
regarding the state employee's evaluation, promotion,
compensation, terms, conditions, location or privileges of
employment, nor may any state employee or state contractor
retaliate against another state employee because the employee,
or a person acting on behalf of the employee, reports or attempts
to report, verbally or in writing:
(A) The willful efforts of such person or agency or contractor
to violate a state or federal law, rule or regulation which had
or would have had a material and adverse effect upon
program operations or program integrity, or the willful efforts
to conceal such a violation;

(B) Acts which constituted fraud against the state, the federal
government, the public or any fellow employee;
(C) The willful misappropriation of state or federal resources;
(D) Acts which posed an unreasonable and specific danger
to the health or safety of the public or employees; or
(E) Acts constituting gross mismanagement of a program,
gross waste of state or federal funds, or gross abuse of
authority;

Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA), Section 49-14-103, Establishment of process


for confidentially reporting misconduct, states in part:

(b) The internal auditor shall establish a process by which students,


employees, taxpayers or other citizens may confidentially report
suspected illegal, improper, wasteful or fraudulent activity. The
detailed information received pursuant to such a report of illegal,
improper, wasteful or fraudulent activity or any ongoing
investigation of the activity shall be considered working papers of
the internal auditor and shall be confidential under title 10,
chapter 7. Each year the internal auditor shall include within the
auditor's annual report a summary of all completed audit activities
pursuant to this chapter.
(c) Section 8-50-116 shall apply to all higher education employees.
In addition, no higher education employee shall suffer any of the
actions specified in 8-50-116 for reporting to or cooperating with
auditors or for reporting any facts to the governing boards of
public institutions of higher education or to the audit committees
of those boards. It is a Class A misdemeanor to knowingly and
willingly retaliate or take adverse action of any kind against any
person for reporting alleged wrongdoing pursuant to this chapter.

State law encourages state employees to report concerns, free of intimidation


or retaliation, and requires internal auditors to provide a confidential process
for reporting such matters. Information obtained during an investigation of any
such issues are confidential.

2. The Presidents Reactions to the Investigation

Manipulating Information
In preparation for a meeting on May 9, 2017, with the Chancellor regarding the
investigation, the President requested a list of employees who had left the college
since he had started as president. The list included the reason the employees left

the college, such as retirement, termination, or other employment. The President


reviewed the list and made changes to it that would reflect more positively on the
reasons for turnover. For example, he changed the reason for one employee, who
had resigned for a lower salaried job from Accepted position with (entity) to
Accepted higher paying job with (entity). The former employee stated to the
auditors that he had resigned for a lower paying job because he could not work with
the President. He was a long-time employee who wanted to retire from the College.
The President asked him to stay, but he refused. In another example, an
administrator resigned without having another job. The original list showed her as
having accepted another job; however, the President changed it to read higher
paying job. Two employees who resigned were listed as retired. The President
made seven such changes to the 50 former employees on the list, which he
submitted to the Chancellor.

Two administrators stated that on May 9, 2017, after returning from the meeting with
the Chancellor, the President told administrators, I cant be the bad guy. The blame
has to fall to the vice presidents, and that the vice presidents will have to take more
of the heat and blame for problems.

Appeal of Employment Termination Granted Due to the Investigation


Just prior to the end of the investigation, a faculty member filed an appeal of the
Colleges decision to terminate the faculty members employment contract.
According to the employees supervisor, the President called her to tell her that he
was granting the faculty members appeal. The supervisor told the President that
granting the appeal made it appear that the decision to terminate the contract had
been incorrect, and the President agreed. He then told the supervisor that he
needed her support in the decision, due to the TBR investigation. He said he was
being investigated by TBR, and therefore he Needs this. He said he had not
broken any laws, but a lot of people are complaining about changes. He said,
Theyve (TBR) got a gun to my head. I need this to go away. This (the termination)
doesnt need to be a part of that. The dean said the only reason the President gave
for granting the appeal was the TBR investigation. The President gave no indication
that the appeal was granted based on the facts related to the personnel action.

Pressure on Faculty and Staff


Several faculty and staff reported that the President has contacted them asking for
their support in meeting with either Regents or the Chancellor to protest this review.
He asked one employee to complain about their interview with the auditors, and the
employee refused. The President told the employee that the employee was making
the Presidents family pack our bags if they did not support him. He asked another
employee to speak on his behalf to TBR, and they also refused. He asked the
employee who else would support him, and they said that they did not know anyone
who would do so. The President became angry, and tried to pressure them with
various comments, including comments about his family and other comments they
employee said were uncomfortable. The employee recommended that he resign.

3. Climate

Very low morale was a serious concern for 85% of those interviewed. Morale was
mentioned by former employees, long-term employees, and new employees hired
by the President.

This review included 102 interviews of 61 different individuals. Of those 61 people,


51 stated that low morale and/or high turnover is a concern, and many indicated that
the situation was deteriorating. Fourteen of the 47 current employees interviewed
stated that they are actively seeking other employment. Nine of those fourteen are
key management staff. We did not ask employees if they were seeking other
employment; these employees volunteered this information.

Since the President started on August 1, 2015, 50 employees have resigned, retired,
or been terminated. They had an average tenure of 11.3 years. These include staff
such as two vice presidents, eight directors, two deans, and five full professors.

Of the 13 former employees interviewed, ten stated that they left because of their
lack of trust or respect for the President. They cited his treatment of employees,
intimidation, lack of credibility, or manipulation.

Several administrators stated that they considered turnover at the College to be


abnormal or too high, and that they believed the turnover was not getting better.
Most administrators acknowledged that with a new president, an increase in
turnover is expected in the first few months, but said that at this point, turnover
should have slowed. They expressed concerns that the President is not credible.

A former long-term employee stated that he resigned to take a lower paying job. He
said that he left because he had to work frequently with the President, and felt that
he could not trust the President. The employee stated that he had planned to
eventually retire from the College, and that the President asked him not to leave.
The President asked the employee if he was leaving for more money, and the
employee said that he was not.

Another long-term employee, who had been promoted by the President, resigned
without having other employment because the former employee was not
comfortable working with the President for several reasons, including comments the
President made that the former employee perceived to be threatening or
intimidating.

Employee Satisfaction Surveys


The Colleges Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Research conducts an annual
employee satisfaction survey. In the 2017 survey, which ended on February 15,
2017, all measures tested for employee satisfaction decreased by an average of 9%
between 2016 and 2017. The number of employees who are actively seeking
employment outside of MSCC, increased from 16% to 23.4%. The percentage of

employees who stated that they were satisfied with their employment at MSCC
decreased from 75.1% in 2016 to 62.4% in 2017. The percentage who said they
agreed that MSCC is a good place to work decreased from 76% to 61.4%. The
President has mentioned that he wants the Colleges operations to be transparent;
however, many of those interviewed stated that the lack of transparency is a
weakness. In the survey, the percentage who agreed that the College is committed
to being an open and transparent organization decreased from 47.7% in 2016 to
37.5% in 2017. (Please see Attachment C.)

The President has not yet authorized the release of the survey results to the
campus. On February 28, 2017, he sent an email to the Leadership Team that
attempted to explain the downturn in the results, as well as point out the weaknesses
in the survey methodology. It also explained that an increase in adjunct faculty may
have, skewed the results, however, the adjunct faculty responses were more
positive than the overall responses in many key areas, such as satisfaction with
employment at the College and whether the College is a transparent and open
organization. An administrator pointed this out in an email on March 1, 2017. The
President replied, Excellent! It looks like the adjunct faculty are not a factor in the
total numbers. Good to know!

In response to his meeting with the Chancellor on May 9, 2017, the President
scheduled a Leadership Team meeting on June 13, 2017 to discuss the survey. In
a June 9, 2017 email about the meeting, the President stated, One of the
challenges of the survey is the 51% response rate with a disproportional number of
adjunct faculty and employees from Moore County completing the survey.

4. Leadership

When asked during the audit to describe his leadership philosophy or methods, the
President talked about the success of the College, and stated that it is the fastest
growing college in the state. When asked to describe his leadership in three words,
he said, Aggressive, intense, results.

Employees used terms such as manipulative, secretive, and narcissistic to describe


the Presidents leadership style. They also said he leads by fear and intimidation.
No one used positive terms other than aggressive for the Presidents leadership
style. Some employees did acknowledge that some positive changes had been
made, but those individuals also stated that the positives were far outweighed by
the negatives. One person stated that the Presidents leadership style is,
Authoritarian masked as participatory. Another person commented that the
President, operates in secrecy under the flag of transparency.

When asked about the Colleges leadership team, faculty and staff were generally
supportive of the vice presidents and other administrators. The perception is that
those administrators are constrained from acting in the best interest of the College

when their opinion of what is best conflicts with the Presidents opinion, out of fear
of reprisal from the President.

5. Dissemination of Personally Identifiable Information

Email of Information on Rape Allegation Complaint


In a May 17, 2016 email, the President sent an agenda for the Leadership Team
meeting on May 20, 2016 to the members of the team. The agenda included an
Update on the Title IX Case, to be presented by the President. This agenda item
referred to the case of an alleged rape of a female student by a male student. The
email also included a copy of a letter from the victims attorney to the TBR General
Counsels office, notifying the TBR that the victim had filed a complaint with the
Office of Civil Rights of the U. S. Department of Education. The letter included the
victims full name. The Presidents email also included as an attachment a copy of
the indictment of the accused student. This attachment included the full name and
social security number of the accused. Social Security Numbers are protected
information under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

At the Leadership Team meeting on May 20, 2017, the President stated that he had
been advised by the Office of the Attorney General not to discuss the matter.
Several individuals said the President mentioned the case to them either individually
or in meetings. Referring to the case in one meeting, the President said Boys just
have to be careful. Get out your phone and record them saying yes.

Mass Email of Student Information


During a Presidents Leadership Council meeting on November 24, 2015, a staff
member mentioned that a high number of Tennessee Promise students had not
submitted their community service hours, approximately one week before the
deadline of December 1, 2015, for the spring semester. During the meeting, the
President called the Tennessee Promise coordinator on speaker phone. The
President berated the coordinator over the phone, then told the coordinator to email
him the information on all those students. The Coordinator forwarded the President
a password protected spreadsheet that included personally identifiable information
(PII) on 1,427 MSCC Tennessee Promise students. The information included
names, social security numbers, phone numbers, addresses, ACT scores, Expected
Family Contribution, and remediation needs for all the students. The email included
the password for the file. The coordinator stated that he was hesitant to send the
email, but after being berated by the President in front of other employees, he felt
he could not refuse.

When the President received the email on November 24, 2015, he forwarded the
email and the attached file to the email group Campus, which included 554 email
addresses of current and former full-time faculty and staff, adjunct faculty, temporary
staff, and some contracted workers. The Presidents email asked the recipients to
contact the students to encourage them to complete the community service work so
that they would not lose their Tennessee Promise eligibility. Due to the release of

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the PII, the College was forced to take extensive measures to attempt to protect and
recover the data. In addition, the situation was reported by a middle Tennessee
television station.

Notwithstanding the FERPA compliance considerations of this situation, and


although the Presidents intent was to encourage students to meet the Tennessee
Promise requirement by the deadline, sending the list to all campus contacts without
an organized communication plan for contacting the students was an impulsive
decision. The President stated during the audit that this was his fault, and that he
should have been more careful.

6. International Studies

The Presidents interactions with the Student Government Association (SGA) during
the spring 2016 semester were the subject of several allegations. The concerns
related to his proposal to fund a security officer position at the Smyrna campus by
reducing the $12 per student International Education fee by $11, and replacing it
with an $11 increase in the Campus Access fee charged to students to be used for
the position. The remaining $1 International Education fee continues to be used for
campus festivities. The President had originally wanted to eliminate the entire fee
and replace it with a $12 increase to the Campus Access fee, but TBR questioned
the elimination of the fee because international education opportunities are
encouraged and considered by TBR to be high-impact practices. TBR requires that
institutions consult with the student body before a change to a mandatory fee;
therefore, the President proposed the change to the Student Government
Association (SGA) for their approval.

Some allegations were that the President pressured or misled the SGA to persuade
them to vote for the change. According to those interviewed who were present when
the President made the proposal to the SGA, the President was dismissive of the
value of the International Studies, and spoke very emphatically about the need for
security at the Smyrna campus. He understated the number of students in the
International Studies program. According to those interviewed, he said that only 8-
10 students per year participated, but the actual numbers were 28 and 25 for the
previous two years. One administrator said that the President had received the
actual numbers. Those interviewed said the President made comments such as,
You really want to make your President happy, dont you? One student said that
the way the President made this comment made her feel uncomfortable, and it
prompted her to start taking notes. The President also stated that if they voted
against the proposal and something bad happened at the Smyrna campus, the SGA
members would have it on their conscience.

The proposal was approved by the SGA. One SGA member who voted against the
proposal stated that they were uncomfortable with the Presidents presentation, and
did feel pressured to vote in favor of it. This member stated that they wondered if
there would be repercussions for voting against it. Those interviewed about the

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meeting stated that the president made it clear that he wanted the proposal to pass.
One person stated that the President made a comment indicating that TBR would
be pleased if the SGA approved the proposal. Those interviewed, including former
SGA members, said that they understood the need for security, but stated that they
thought that the students were misled and pressured to vote for the change.

7. Student-Athlete Grades

Several complaints were received stating that the President had either directly or
indirectly attempted to exert pressure on faculty and administrators to either provide
additional help regarding grades or grade appeals for student-athletes. We found
no evidence that grades were improperly changed or that final grades were
influenced by any pressure from administration or coaches.

Grade Appeal Pressure


Although the Colleges catalog states that the decision of the Vice President for
Academic Affairs is final regarding student grade appeals, the President asked an
administrator to reopen and review a students grade appeal, which had been
previously denied by the Vice President.

In an email to the President, the administrator expressed concerns about reviewing


the grade appeal, suggested consulting with the faculty member and Vice President,
cited the Colleges appeal policy, and noted that to do as requested by the President
would take them out of compliance with the policy. The President responded with
the following email:

Do what you think is right. A Vice President can always reverse their
original decision based on new information. As a former academic
administrator myself, I can understand making sure the classroom
faculty member is on board before moving forward.

Truth be told, given the circumstances, had this issue come before me
when I was serving as an academic dean, I would have respectfully
made a different decision. However, I support whatever you guys
believe is the right thing to do. As you know, your decision will
dramatically impact a human beings life.

The President also stated in the email that he had already discussed the matter with
the Chair of the Faculty Council, so that if the administrator talked to the chair, It
will not be a surprise. The administrator did not reopen the appeal.

Perceived Pressure on Faculty Regarding Grades


During a Faculty Council meeting for which the President was a guest, the President
mentioned a specific student-athletes need for certain minimum grades. The
student-athlete had accepted a scholarship offer at a university, and was in danger
of becoming academically ineligible. According to three faculty members who were

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present, the President remarked about how well the Motlow teams were doing and
the need to support the teams. He then stated he hoped that everyone realized,
what a prize we have in (the student-athlete). He said that this is where faculty
come in to play. He said that the student-athlete needed to increase the student-
athletes GPA and, not just pass, to be academically eligible to transfer and qualify
for the scholarship. The President then emphasized that the student needed all As
for the semester. He pointed out one of the faculty members, and asked if they had
the student-athlete in one of their courses. When the faculty member said yes, the
President said again that the student-athlete needed more than passing grades, he
needed all As.

For the rest of the semester, the faculty member received two or three visits per
week from either the head coach or assistant coach, to check on the student athlete.
The faculty member said that one of the coaches was pleasant, but that the
impression from the other coach was that, You need to fix this. We are depending
on you. The faculty member stated that there have not been any other students for
whom there was such a focus on improving their grades. The faculty member said
that they felt they were being pressured, but made it clear to the coaches that the
student-athlete would receive the grade the student-athlete earned. The student-
athletes mother visited the faculty member three times during the semester, but did
not outwardly exert pressure. The mother told the faculty member how important
the scholarship was to the family. The faculty member told us that they felt guilty
giving the student-athlete the grade the student-athlete earned, but thought that,
That was their point.

One of the other faculty who had the student-athlete in a course that semester also
received some visits from coaches, but stated since the student-athlete was doing
well in that course, he did not believe he received as many visits. This faculty
member was also present when the President had made comments about the
student-athlete. He also said he gave the student-athlete the grade he earned. A
third faculty member stated that the student-athlete did very well in that course, and
that there were no visits from coaches.

8. Comments about Employees

Several people have mentioned situations in which they allege the President has
made what they considered inappropriate or hostile jokes or comments to or about
employees. To protect the identities and embarrassment of the employees involved,
this report does not include some of the incidents, including jokes made to strangers
and employees regarding intimate aspects of employees personal lives, as well as
other sensitive issues. Even after employees told him that some of the jokes were
offensive, he repeated them multiple times.

As previously noted, during a Leadership Council meeting a staff member


mentioned that a high number of Tennessee Promise students had not electronically
submitted their community service hours. The President called the Tennessee

13

Promise coordinator on speaker phone during the meeting, and berated him while
the meeting attendees listened. The attendees interviewed said that the verbal
abuse was very uncomfortable for everyone, and they characterized it as
overboard and unnecessary. One person who was present said that the President
Talked to him like he was a dog.

During the search process for a coach position, the President did an internet search
for a female candidate. He asked two employees who were in his office to look at
his monitor, which displayed a photograph of a woman in a bikini. The President
indicated that the woman was the candidate, and said, Look at her. The other
coaches wont complain if we hire her. The employees told us they did not believe
the woman in the photograph was actually the candidate.

The President told one former employee that as presidents, he and the previous
president were members of an elite club that the former employee was not familiar
with. The President showed her an organization chart from his prior institution. He
pointed at a name at the bottom of the chart, and stated, I wouldnt know her if not
for her picture. Thats you.

9. Hiring Practices

One of the Presidents first actions after being appointed President was to make
changes to the Colleges policy on hiring, Hiring Procedures, 5:00:00:00.
Specifically, the policy was amended to include the statement. Unless waived by
the President, vacant positions will be posted or advertised internally and/or
externally by human resources. The policy was approved at the August 25, 2015
Leadership Council meeting. During this time, the President also had Human
Resources remove the Human Resources signature line and dates from
appointment recommendation forms. According to administrators, the President did
not want it to appear that Human Resources could approve of his hiring decisions.
The President also had the dates removed from the appointment recommendation
forms. Human Resources then started writing the date they sent the form to Payroll
in the bottom corner of the form to ensure there was a date recorded on the form.
This was done after the President had signed the forms.

Faculty and administrators complained about the Presidents methods for


conducting employee searches. Search committees are instructed to narrow the
search to three finalists. The committee may list positives or negatives for each
candidate, but may not provide rankings of the finalists. The three finalists are then
interviewed by the President and applicable Vice President, who together make the
final decision on which candidate to offer the position. However, three individuals
who have participated in these decisions stated that the President usually expresses
a clear preference for one candidate, and they are not comfortable in contradicting
the President.

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Direct Appointments
The President has used his change to the Colleges Hiring Procedures allowing him
to waive the posting and advertising of openings to make direct appointments of
both internal and external candidates. Based upon information provided by the
Office of Human Resources, as of April 18, 2017, there have been 37 direct
appointments out of 98 (38%) filled positions since the President was hired. The
Office of Human Resources and Equity Officer do not normally learn of these
appointments until the President has sent out a campus-wide email announcing the
hire. Human Resources has had to find the individuals to ask them to complete an
application and other paperwork, if they are not already employees. A former
administrator stated that the President rarely communicated with her, and said that
at least ten different people were hired in her area without anyone consulting with
her.

Assistant Coach Direct Appointment


The direct appointment of an assistant coach to two separate full-time jobs, first as
a Secretary II, then as a Maintenance Technician, is an example of the direct hiring
process used by the President. At the College, assistant coach positions usually
only receive a small stipend for coaching, and the President wanted them to have
full time positions.

The President appointed the individual to the assistant coach position ($200 monthly
stipend) and a secretary position ($23,030 annual salary full-time position), effective
January 6, 2016. The person who was the supervisor over the secretary position at
that time stated that both she and the Director of Human Resources advised the
President not to make the appointment.

A maintenance technician position at the Fayetteville campus became open, and


the assistant coach approached the President about this position, since the
schedule would be more flexible and compatible with the coaching position. The
President contacted the Facilities Director and asked if he would accept the
assistant in the maintenance technician position. The Facilities Director agreed.
The vice president who was over Facilities said they were not contacted about the
change until the Facilities Director sent an email to them on February 25, 2016,
agreeing to accept the assistant coach in the maintenance position effective March
7, 2016.

When asked during the audit about an assistant coachs qualifications for the
secretary position to which the President had appointed him when he was hired, the
President said that he did not know the coachs qualifications for secretary, except
that he had a bachelors degree. When asked if he knew if the coach was the most
qualified person available for the position, since there was no search, the President
said he did not know if he was qualified for the secretary position, he only knew that
he was an assistant coach, and the President needed an assistant coach.
Throughout the course of the audit, several employees mentioned this situation and
indicated that it is a typical example of the direct appointments by the President.

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Faculty and administrators stated that many times employees are appointed to
positions with little or no consideration of the needs or opinions of the supervisors
and departments.

Staff Position Search


Two employees involved in the Colleges hiring of a person to fill a full-time staff
position stated that they had concerns regarding the Presidents involvement in the
process. One was the chair of the search committee, and the other was the
supervisor for the position. According to them, one of the candidates was a part-
time employee of the College who had relevant experience. Another candidate, who
was eventually selected by the President to fill the position, had much less
experience than the first candidate. According to the two employees involved in
the interview process, the part-time employee was much more qualified than the
candidate who was selected. The committee sent three finalist names forward to
the President for him and the supervisor to interview. One of the three candidates
withdrew.

The supervisor and the President interviewed the two candidates. The supervisor
stated that the President did not ask the same questions of the candidates and that
the President was much more aggressive and rude in the interview with the part-
time employee than he was with the person who was hired. She stated that the
President interrupted the part-time employee frequently when he tried to speak. She
stated that it was very uncomfortable watching the Presidents interview with the
part-time employee, while the other interview was very friendly.

When the search committee chair raised concerns to the President about his
selection, the President asked how many people she had interviewed in her life.
The President then stated that he had interviewed approximately 2,432 people, and
was more qualified than her to make the decision.

According to the supervisor, the part-time employee complained to others about not
being selected for the position, and his complaints were reported to the President.
The President told the supervisor that she had to tell the part-time employee that he
was to tell everyone he had spoken to that he was not selected because he was not
the best candidate. The supervisor stated that she did not relay this message to the
employee because she did not think it was appropriate. The President asked her
on two occasions if she had done so, and she truthfully told him that she had not yet
seen the employee. The President did not ask again.

Vice President for Academic Affairs Search


The current Vice President for Academic Affairs is an interim. In the most recent
search for a Vice President for Academic Affairs, which was cancelled in December
2016, the President was the chair of the search committee. Several members of
the committee stated that the President told the committee that he had concerns
about the potential longevity of one of the candidates, because the candidate had
been in his current position a short time, although the candidate had held his

16

previous position for fourteen years. Two committee members said that they
interpreted the Presidents comments as indicating he did not want that candidate
forwarded to him as a finalist. They stated that he was one of the better qualified
candidates. Two committee members also said that the President indicated that he
did not want that candidate considered because in video interviews he learned the
candidate was not a minority. The President told committee members that he had
assumed the candidate was a minority, and since he was not a minority, his
candidacy would not help the Colleges diversity efforts.

This search was cancelled when no candidate was selected. One of the three
finalists withdrew. The President stated that none of the candidates were as strong
as the current interim. The interim does not meet the qualifications for the
permanent position, but has served as the interim for almost one year.

Other hiring concern


One administrator stated that during a candidate search, the President and his
Leadership Team were interviewing candidates in the Presidents conference room.
The President participated in the first interview, then excused himself from the
second interview so he could meet with two other employees in his office adjacent
to the conference room. The President began loudly berating and cursing at one of
the two employees. The administrator said that the President could be heard clearly
during the interview. The President later told an administrator, When you are
president, you have to be theatrical. Another employee stated that the President
told them after a separate meeting, This job is all about theatrics.

Non-compliance with EEO/AA Requirements


According to the Executive Director of Human Resources, when the President
makes a direct appointment, the appointment is generally not reviewed and certified
by the Affirmative Action Officer until after the President has made an offer to the
person being hired. This practice is in direct conflict with TBR Guideline P-010,
Personnel Transactions and Recommended Forms, which requires that, All
appointments, regardless of salary, including promotions and transfers, must be
reviewed and certified by the institutional Affirmative Action Officer prior to action.
The Colleges Appointment of Regular Employment form includes the two
statements: Documented compliance of MSCCs Equal Employment/Affirmative
Action Policies, and Documented Compliance of TBR Guideline P-010. Both
statements include boxes for the Office of Human Resources to check either Yes
or No.

For the direct appointments identified by the Office of Human Resources,


incomplete or missing documents were noted for 19 of the 37 (51%) appointments.
For seven of the 19 appointments, there was no Appointment of Regular
Employment form; for twelve of the 19 appointments, the boxes for one or both
statements on the form were not checked. This indicates that either the Office of
Human Resources did not maintain adequate records and neglected to properly

17

complete the forms, or they could not certify that the appointments were in
compliance with the policies.

The Presidents direct appointment of candidates were not in accordance with


established TBR policies. Any such personnel action must be taken within the
parameters of the institution's or system office's Affirmative Action Plan, and must
be reviewed and certified by the institutional Affirmative Action Officer, in advance.
The President did not give consideration for determining whether direct
appointments or promotions were achieved within the parameters of institutional
affirmative action plans. For 51% of the appointments, the College did not certify
that the direct appointments were made in compliance with the applicable policies.
Additionally, the hiring practices for some positions did not ensure the candidate
was the most qualified for the position.

The hiring and promotion practices of the President prevented the College from
complying with TBR Guideline P-010 referenced above and TBR Policy 5:01:02:00,
Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action. The policy and guideline
were developed by TBR to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations
regarding hiring and promotion practices, including equal employment opportunity
and affirmative action. His direct appointment of individuals does not ensure fair
and equitable treatment of all personnel. The purpose of this policy is to set the
standards for a consistent process and treatment of employees regarding equal
employment opportunity and affirmative action across the TBR system.

10. Budget Votes

The President initiated a budgeting process that allows faculty and staff to propose
budget initiatives for the use of funds available, if any, above the Colleges base
budget. Budget initiatives are sponsored by members of the Leadership Council,
and are presented at budget hearings. Leadership Council members may then seek
opinions and information from faculty and staff after the budget meetings on all the
initiatives.

There is an on-line voting system for the Leadership Council members to vote for or
rank the initiatives that they think should be funded with available funds. At the next
Leadership Council meeting, the results are announced. Based upon the ranking,
the initiatives are approved to the extent of available funds.

Members of the Leadership Council stated that after the hearings, the President
meets privately with the College vice presidents, and discusses his priorities from
the initiatives. He has told the vice presidents not to tell the other Council members
about the private meeting. One vice president said that he told them, Now you
know how to vote. Go on-line and vote. We have the votes to outnumber the other
Council members. They dont know what we are doing, but they will figure it out in
a couple of years.

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11. Re-imagining

Although only mentioned specifically two times in formal complaints, the Presidents
restructuring plan for the College, which he called the Re-imagining, and his
execution of his plan is an underlying factor in many of the individual issues cited in
both the formal complaints, as well as the concerns expressed by faculty, staff,
senior management, and former employees interviewed. The restructuring plan was
dated January 27, 2016, and it was approved by the then-Chancellor on January
28, 2016. The President stated that he also reviewed the plan with a TBR Vice
Chancellor and one of the Regents. The President said that the Vice Chancellor
told him to implement the plan in a manner to avoid any employees losing their jobs.
The President stated during the audit that the College was successful in avoiding
the loss of jobs.

The President mentioned the Re-imagining process to employees at the Presidents


Leadership Council meeting on August 25, 2015, and instituted a series of focus
groups of employees during development of the plan from October through
December 2015. The focus groups were asked to complete surveys about various
aspects of the Colleges organization and operations. The President developed
many of the questions. Employees who mentioned the surveys said that the
questions and multiple-choice answers were slanted to give certain results. For
example, in one question about how the College should address enrollment growth
at the Smyrna campus and projected population growth in Rutherford County, only
one of the four possible answers were a positive response. The other answers
warned that changes might cause disruptions or morale and political problems, or
indicated that the person could not answer unless they knew how they would
personally be affected.

The Re-imagining resulted in a shift from administrative campus directors and


academic deans by discipline to campus deans who oversee all academic
disciplines for their campus, and curriculum chairs appointed from the faculty for
each academic discipline. Among other organizational changes, the Re-imagining
resulted in the elimination of the Vice President for Technology and Administrative
Services, whose functions were absorbed by other areas, primarily the Vice
President for Finance and Administration and the Vice President for Quality
Assurance and Performance Funding. The former Vice President for Technology
and Administrative Services became the Chief Information Officer, and now reports
to the Vice President for Finance and Administration.

Pressure to Accept Additional Responsibilities


The President told one of the campus directors (Director) that he would appoint her
as Dean of Students (a new position under the re-imagining) because he was
eliminating her position as a campus director, effective January 1, 2016. The
President told her not to mention the offer to anyone, including her supervisor, the
Vice President for Academic Affairs. One week after she had agreed to accept the
Dean of Students position, the President asked the Director to become the Athletic

19

Director, in addition to the Dean of Students duties. She told the President no, but
he kept pressuring her, and pointed out that he had done her a favor by directly
appointing her as Dean of Students, when her current position of campus director
was being eliminated. She eventually agreed to accept both positions, although she
didnt feel qualified to be the Athletic Director. She resigned approximately three
months later. The President then told her that if she resigned, she would not be
able to find another higher education position in the area. She understood this to
be a threat. The President told Human Resources to announce her departure as a
retirement.

12. Public Comments by the President

The President has made comments in such forums as open campus meetings,
Leadership Council meetings, and community meetings that some have found
disrespectful or inappropriate. For example, in a Leadership meeting, the President
was discussing this investigation and commented that, The Chancellor is not going
to fire the states best President.

After a disagreement with administrators at one of the Colleges partner TCATs, he


referred to them with a vulgar description in front of his staff. In response to a
concern a staff member mentioned regarding the community, the President said,
The ladies in the beauty shop and men in the cafeteria are not going to tell me how
to run the College.

During a Leadership Council meeting discussion about revisions to a TBR policy


that the President did not agree with, he said, Why is some bureaucrat in Nashville
saying no?

In a January 25, 2017, article in the Daily News Journal about the Colleges
fundraising and enrollment growth at Smyrna, the President is quoted as saying, I
have to hire security guards to direct parking to keep fist fights from breaking out.
According to the Colleges Director of Public Safety, there have been no reports of
fights at the Smyrna campus. Several employees mentioned this statement as
being an embarrassment to the College.

CONCLUSIONS

According to the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway


Commission (COSO), one of the fundamental concepts of internal control is that it
is:

Effected by people not merely about policy and procedure manuals,


systems, and forms, but about people and the actions they take at every
level of an organization to affect internal control.
The control environment of an organization is an important component of its internal
control system and sets the tone at the top. In addition to requiring adherence to

20

policies and procedures, management continually uses judgment in daily decisions


to maintain the tone they have set.

The COSO Internal Control Frameworks principles for the control environment
include the following that are relevant to this report:

Demonstrate a commitment to integrity and ethical values.


Hold individuals accountable for their internal control responsibilities.
Demonstrate a commitment to attract, develop, and retain competent
individuals in alignment with objectives.

According to guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Justice regarding the


evaluation of corporate compliance programs, the evaluation of compliance
programs should include consideration of, Conduct at the Top. Such an evaluation
should include questions such as:

How have senior leaders, through their words and actions, encouraged or
discouraged the type of misconduct in question?
How has senior leadership modeled proper behavior to subordinates?

Tennessee Board of Regents Policy 4:01:05:50: Preventing and Reporting Fraud,


Waste or Abuse provides the following definition of abuse:

Abuse - Abuse involves behavior that is deficient or improper when


compared with behavior that a prudent person would consider a
reasonable and necessary business practice given the facts and
circumstances. Abuse also includes misuse of authority or position
for personal financial interest or those of an immediate or close family
member or business associate. Abuse does not necessarily involve
fraud, violation of laws, regulations, or provisions of a contract or
grant agreement.

The current control environment of the College exhibits many weaknesses in internal
control. The climate and morale on all four campuses were described in negative
terms by most employees interviewed. The manipulation of both people and
information has created a sense of distrust among faculty and administrators that is
deep, and was even mentioned by several of those considered at one point to be
supporters of the President. The pressure placed on employees to do things they
consider inappropriate or to take on unreasonable workloads is attributable to
employees fear of retribution and of being labeled as not being a team player. The
Presidents persistent use of fear, intimidation, hostility, and condescension as
motivational tools was described by faculty, administrators, and support staff from
all campuses. The Presidents attempts to interfere with the investigation are
symptomatic of his leadership of the College.

21

Rather than demonstrating a commitment to integrity and ethical values, and


attracting, developing, and retaining competent individuals, the tone being set at
the top reflects autocratic management, negativity, and undue pressure, causing
long-term employees to seek other employment. These factors have created an
atmosphere that is not sustainable for a campus attempting to manage growth and
expansion.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The Chancellor and the Tennessee Board of Regents should take actions
to address the leadership issues noted in this report.
The College should revise its Hiring Policy to ensure that potential new hires
and direct appointments are reviewed in advance to ensure compliance with
the Colleges Affirmative Action plan and applicable requirements and
regulations.
The College should develop a process for documenting all personnel
actions, including documentation of reviews and approvals, as well as the
corresponding dates.
The College should develop a policy regarding Athletic Department and
other administration contact with faculty regarding students.
The College should develop a data handling and classification system that
is communicated to all employees to protect information assets to ensure
that the institution maintains strict confidentiality, integrity, and availability
of information in compliance with applicable requirements and regulations.
The College should provide training on the data handling and classification
system to all employees to educate and foster a culture of security
awareness. Training should include cybersecurity awareness, personally
identifiable information (PII), email use and encryption, password
management, and guidelines for classifying data.

22

ExhibitA
MotlowStateCommunityCollege
SpecialReport
ComplaintsRegardingthePresident
Exhibit:DiscussionDraftProvidedtothePresident


CONFIDENTIALDRAFTFORINTERNALDISCUSSIONONLYMAY9,2017
MotlowStateCommunityCollege

CampusClimateandMoraleCurrentlongtermandnewemployees,aswellasformeremployees,
statethatthereislowmoraleattheCollegeandtheybelieveitcontinuestodeteriorate.Theyindicate
thatitwillnotimproveunderthecurrentPresidentbecausethereisapervasivesenseofdistrustwith
manybelievinghelackscredibilitybecauseofhismanipulationofpeopleandinformation.

IntheCollegesrecentemployeesatisfactionsurvey,thepercentageofemployeeswhostatedthatthey
weresatisfiedwiththeiremploymentattheCollegedecreased12.7%from75.1%in2016to62.4%in
2017.ThepercentagewhoagreedthattheCollegeiscommittedtobeinganopenandtransparent
organizationdecreased10.2%from47.7%in2016to37.5%in2017.

LeadershipIndescribingthePresidentsleadershipoftheCollege,employeesusedtheterms
manipulative,secretiveandnarcissistic,andsaidheusesfearandintimidationtoaccomplishhis
objectives.AlthoughtheCollegebudgetprocesswasrepresentedasaparticipatoryprocesswiththe
LeadershipCouncil,thePresidentmeetsprivatelywiththeVicePresidentstotellthemhowtovoteon
budgetinitiativestoensuretheinitiativesthathefavorsandtellsthemnottotelltheotherCouncil
members.EmployeesreportedincidentswherethePresidentberatedemployeesinthepresenceof
othersandmadeinappropriateorhostilejokesorcommentstooraboutemployees.Theyreportedthat
thePresidenthasmadecommentscriticaloftheBoardofRegentsandsomeofitsinstitutionsand
commentsdisrespectfulofcommunitymembers.

HiringPracticesSoonafterhisappointment,thePresidentrevisedaCollegepolicytoallowforhis
waiverofsearchestofillvacantpositions.TheOfficeofHumanResourcesinformationindicatesthat37
of98positions(38%)filledsincethattimeweredirectappointments,filledwithoutasearchprocess.
Thesearchprocesshelpsassureafairandequitablehiringprocess.

StudentAthleteGradesFacultymembersandadministratorsfeltpressuredbythePresidenttogive
bettergradestostudentathletesthanearnedbutrefused.

DisseminationofPersonallyIdentifiableInformationThePresidentinappropriatelysharedpersonally
identifiableinformationofstudentsontwooccasions.OneoccurredintheFallof2016whenhe
forwardedaspreadsheethehadrequestedofastaffmembercontainingpersonalinformationof1,427
studentstoacampusdistributionlistof554currentandformeremployeesandothers.Anotherincident

23

ExhibitA
MotlowStateCommunityCollege
SpecialReport
ComplaintsRegardingthePresident
Exhibit:DiscussionDraftProvidedtothePresident


occurredwhenthePresidentemailedanagendaandotherinformationtotheLeadershipTeam
containingthenameofthevictimofanallegedrapeandthenameandsocialsecuritynumberofthe
accusedstudent.Thecasewasstillopenatthattime.AttheLeadershipTeammeeting,thePresident
statedthathehadbeenadvisednottodiscussthematter,butseveralemployeessaidthePresident
discussedthecasewiththemindividuallyorinmeetings.

InternationalStudiesThePresidentpressuredandmisledStudentGovernmentAssociation(SGA)
memberstopersuadethemtovoteforreducingtheInternationalProgramsfeefrom$12to$1,with
planstoredirecttherevenuetofundasecurityofficerfortheSmyrnacampus.HecommentedtoSGA
membersthatiftheyvotedagainstitandsomethingbadhappenedontheSmyrnacampus,theywould
feelguilty.

24

AttachmentB
President'sResponsetoMay9,
2017DiscussionDraft


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