UCF spending probe proceeds as board chairman steps down

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Amid heavy scrutiny from the Florida House, the state university system’s Board of Governors said Thursday it will continue an investigation into the misuse of tens of millions of dollars for a building project at the University of Central Florida.

The Orlando-based university has faced investigations since an audit in September detailed the improper use of state operating funds to build Trevor Colbourn Hall.

A news release Thursday said the Board of Governors will continue seeking details on UCF’s shift of at least $31 million into a building fund. Earlier reports indicated that $38 million in operating funds had been improperly used for the construction project.

“A key purpose of a university is to shape students to have the values and integrity that they’ll take with them throughout their lives, and some members of the UCF administration failed to lead by example,” Syd Kitson, vice chairman of the Board of Governors, said in a prepared statement. “This is a trying time, but I do believe that UCF will be a better, stronger university going forward.”

During a Thursday meeting of UCF's Board of Trustees, Chairman Marcos Marchena announced that he would be relinquishing his chairmanship "to show the serious" with which he is approaching the investigation into the university’s misspending, but he will remain on the board.

"It is my hope that doing so will make it clear to you and all concerned that the investigation and the actions we took as a result of it were thorough, objective and fair," Marchena said in a statement sent to FOX 35.

The House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee is scheduled Wednesday to continue digging into the misuse of funds, including receiving an update from state university system Chancellor Marshal Criser.