Alabama State University audit

Alabama State University is interviewing three finalists for its presidency.

Members of a search committee Friday morning interviewed state Sen. Quinton Ross Jr. of Montgomery; and Gwendolyn Boyd of John Hopkins University. They planned to interview retired Brig. Gen. Samuel Nichols Jr. of Virginia Friday afternoon.

The school is trying to replace Joseph Silver, who was suspended from the presidency and then left with a $685,000 severance package after three months on the job.

A search committee has released the names of four finalists seeking the presidency of Alabama State University.

The list made public Wednesday includes state Sen. Quinton Ross of Montgomery and Gwendolyn Boyd of Montgomery, who had a long career at John Hopkins University.

The other finalists include retired Brig. Gen. Samuel Nichols of Virginia, a former deputy commander at Guantanamo Bay, and the business dean at George Mason University, Jorge Haddock.

Alabama's governor is brushing off criticism that he's trying to run Alabama State University and says he will continue a financial review of university spending.

Gov. Robert Bentley released preliminary findings from a forensic audit last week. It questioned $2.5 million in spending and accused the university of hindering the audit.

Bentley is president of the university board of trustees by virtue of his office, and he's called a special board meeting Oct. 28 to discuss the findings.

Some critics have accused him of trying to run the university.

State lawmakers have approved another $50,000 for the company conducting a forensic audit at Alabama State University.

   A panel of lawmakers on Thursday approved the latest request for money for the independent audit. The Montgomery Advertiser reports ( that the increase could take the total cost for review up to $650,000.

   Jennifer Ardis, a spokeswoman for Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, said the auditing process is taking longer because of difficulty in gaining access to needed information.

Alabama State University trustees have formed a mutual separation agreement with suspended university President Joseph Silver.

School officials have agreed to pay Silver $685,000 to resign from his position and the agreement includes a clause prohibiting either party from disparaging the other.

Silver was placed on paid administrative leave Nov. 26 after officials said he tried firing executive vice president John Knight — a state representative from Montgomery.

Trustees voted 8-1 to accept the agreement and one member chose not to vote.

Three legislative leaders on education issues have asked Alabama State University for records of all contracts and payments to public officials or their immediate families.