Prairie View A&M Seeks Continuation of Physics Grant
PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas
Prairie View A&M officials will seek continued funding for a Department of Energy grant after a special review determined there was no misuse of federal funds or material non-compliance with policies and rules.
The review was requested by the university’s president, Charles A. Hines, and was conducted by Texas A&M University System internal auditors to determine if potential irregularities reported to Hines existed. Throughout the audit, grant-related research has continued under the direction of Dr. Dennis Judd, the grant’s principal investigator and a physics professor at the university.
In September, Black Issues reported that the U.S. Department of Energy was poised to drop funding for Judd’s work on a high-profile experiment because Hines was blocking the grant (see Black Issues, Sept. 13). In an Aug. 1 letter to the energy department, Hines said he didn’t plan on authorizing the renewal of the next phase of the $678,000 peer-reviewed grant for Judd’s work on the high-profile BaBar atom-smashing experiment. The grant paid for salaries, as well as travel costs for Judd and a team of Prairie View researchers and students to work at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in Menlo Park, Calif. Judd, one of the few Black physicists in the nation, said he would consider leaving the university if the grant was discontinued.
The auditors did find two instances of non-compliance regarding the university and the rules of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, but stated that those instances were not intentional or egregious violations by the individuals associated with the grant.
Based on the findings of the special review, Hines says he has now “pledged his full support” to the grant and has applied to the Department of Energy for continued funding for future research.
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