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Coastal Bend College’s Board of Trustees Votes to Terminate President

Coastal Bend College has issued a letter of intent to discharge its president, Dr. Beatriz Espinoza, following an investigation by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board which found that the school has not been complying with various policies.

The board of trustees voted 4-3 to place Espinoza on administrative leave with pay while the termination process is completed, according to the Caller-Times.

The trustees have given her 30 days to respond to the board’s action.

The investigation by the Texas board was taken up last year after Matilda Saenz, the college’s former interim vice president of instruction and economic development, filed 27 grievances against the college, accusing administrators of changing the grades of hundreds of nursing students without receiving proper  faculty consent.

As a result, the college fired Saenz in August 2018 for violating student privacy, which is protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), a federal privacy law that protects student educational records.

The investigation found “substantial noncompliance” regarding costs associated with the school’s Nursing Shortage Reduction Program grant, its Perkins grant, and insufficient documentation for expenditures, KZTV News reported.

Coastal Bend was asked to refund nearly $400,000 for not administering the grants correctly in 2016 and 2017.

Since the board’s investigation, the school said it has put stricter internal policies and procedures in place to address all of the concerns raised in the report.

The board is meeting on Monday to create an interim plan following Espinoza’s termination, and to begin its search for an interim president.

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