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Lawmakers call for state audit of Hoffner firing

  • Blog Post by: Jennifer Brooks
  • April 24, 2014 - 1:26 PM

State lawmakers have joined the chorus calling for a state audit of Minnesota State, Mankato and all the decisions that led to the firing of its head football coach.

Earlier this month, Coach Todd Hoffner returned to Mankato and the job he lost two years ago, after an arbitrator concluded that the university had been wrong to fire him in the first place. University staff found naked pictures of Hoffner's young children on his work phone in 2012, sparking a criminal investigation. A judge later tossed out the charges, noting that the videos were innocent family footage of the children playing at bath time, but Hoffner lost his job anyway.

The chairs of the Senate and House Higher Education Committees -- Sen. Terri Bonoff-DFL-Minnetonka, and Rep. Gene Pelowski-DFL-Winona -- wrote Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles on Wednesday, asking for an independent review of both the university and its governing body, the Minnesota Colleges and University system.

"Given the problematic outcome of these decisions, a thorough analysis and review is appropriate," Bonoff said in a statement Thursday. "What happened? Was our process appropriate? What changes are needed? These questions are best answered by the independent Legislative Auditor."

University President Richard Davenport and MnSCU Chancellor Steven Rosenstone have also requested an external review of the incident. In a letter to the Legislature Wednesday, they noted that privacy laws restrict the amount of information they can make public about the incident.

In a statement, Pelowski said he hoped the audit "will provide us with the information we need to ensure that this never happens again."

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