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In Indiana, Controversy Over $3M in Tuition Hike Proceeds Transferred to Genomics Initiative

NEW YORK, June 18 (GenomeWeb News) - In Indiana, controversy has been brewing over $3 million in proceeds from an Indiana University tuition hike that was transferred to the Indiana Genomics Initiative, a research program at the Indiana University School of Medicine.


On Wednesday, the Bloomington Herald-Times reported that the $3 million was transferred to INGEN to cover its investment losses. INGEN had been awarded a $105 million grant from the Lilly Endowment in 2000, and had invested the grant with the intention of using the interest for life sciences research at Indiana University in Bloomington, the report said.


But after these investments lost money, the $3 million was reportedly "transferred to the INGEN project, at the direction of former [Indiana University] president Myles Brand, to cover previous investment losses," according to a document provided to Indiana University trustees cited in another Indiana newspaper.


However, in an official statement released today, Indiana University officials denied that these tuition funds, which came from an $1,000 tuition hike, were used to cover losses associated with INGEN.


"This isn't about losses. This situation arises because earnings on investments did not materialize as expected during the recent market downturn," Judith Palmer, IU vice president and chief financial officer, said in the statement.


Kenneth Gros Louis, chancellor of IU Bloomington, added that the proceeds from the tuition hike were being used directly to fund projects related to new life sciences initiatives, such as recruitment and retention efforts for faculty and researchers. Additionally, the university said that it incurred costs for "items such as academic equipment and laboratory and classroom enhancements."


"We are not backfilling for investment losses," stated Gros Louis. "We are continuing to move the initiative forward, and we are doing so by using funds that had been committed for that purpose anyway."





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