Much of the criticism, some seemingly organized from inside the Board of Governors, has labeled the program as a way for university professors to take vacations at exotic foreign spots each summer at the taxpayers' expense.
That criticism would seem to come from a 2001 state audit, first revealed in the original Turner Report website, that blasted the operation of the international program and the Missouri Southern International Piano Competition, another program that bit the dust after the departure of former President Julio Leon.
The 2001 audit included this passage:
Between July 1, 1998 and March 31, 2000, the college spent approximately $655,000 on
international travel; however, the college has not established formal written travel policies and procedures. As a result, we noted inaccurate reporting of trip expenditures, inconsistency in the number of trip chaperones, and no bidding of travel agents.
In addition, the spouses of the chorale director and a music professor went on free trips to Austria with the student choir, a trip which the students raised money to attend. These complimentary trips, totaling $3,246, materialized when the travel agent awarded one free trip to the college for the large group attending, and the college’s International Studies department allocated excess funding to the music professor.
College officials, in response to our audit, have agreed to repay the costs of the free trips and develop travel policies and procedures.
That audit, however, was conducted eight years ago. What we have not heard from anyone is what changes have taken place in the program since that time. It appears the criticism revolves around an audit that is nearly a decade old, and that same audit is being used to cashier the international program out of existence.