UT fires former convicted embezzler

UT fell short when they hired a former embezzler to serve in the same leadership position she was convicted of first degree theft for.


Prior to serving as the assistant director at the Center for International Studies and Programs office, Diane Engbretson was the assistant director at Camp Adventure at the University of Northern Iowa. However, on Aug 19, 2010, Engbretson was arrested for first-degree theft upon using CA funds for her personal use.


UT terminated Engbretson for “providing inaccurate and/or misleading information on [her] application for employment,” according to the letter she received from the university Feb 28.


The Independent Collegian filed a public personnel records request for Diane Engbretson on Feb 17, 2018. UT supplied the documents for the IC’s request on March 14, 2018, releasing the information two weeks after Engbretson’s termination.


In her UT General Application for employment, Engbretson specified she disclosed her felony conviction and deferred judgement for first-degree theft from 2010 due to purchasing airline tickets for personal use with a company card.


The IC’s request for Engbretson's personnel records included a background report conducted by IntelliCorp for UT. The report includes information on her felony charges.


“If we’re elevating the standards for students here, then we should elevate the standards for who we’re hiring,” said a UT student who wished to remain anonymous.


The IC also reached out to Sammy Spann, UT dean of students and former assistant provost for CISP, who worked with Engbretson at UNI. Spann set up an interview with our editors, but canceled several hours before the interview on Feb. 28, the day of Engbretson’s termination. Attempts to reschedule the interview were not returned.


A 2009 audit report identified that Engbretson took $19,434.27 of improper disbursements and unrecorded personal leave. The improper disbursements included $9,373.10 used for personal purchases made by the university procurement card under Engbretson’s administration. 


According to an audit, the improper disbursements also included lodging taxes of $2,798.55 claimed by Engbretson which she did not pay and $1,787.88 of unspent travel advance proceeds she did not reimburse to Camp Adventure. This also included 20 days of unrecorded personal leave valued at $4,686.40.


Between February and March 2008, Engbretson issued seven checks to UNI totaling $9,463.69 to repay CA for her personal purchases of airline tickets, car rentals and lodging costs for her and a personal friend.


After serving as the Assistant Director for CA since February 2002, Engbretson was placed on paid administrative leave on March 20, 2008 and resigned from her position on July 3, 2008.


As the assistant director, Engbretson’s responsibilities included making travel arrangements and supervising college students working at CA sites in Europe, where she routinely travelled each summer and fall.


After leaving UNI, Engbretson went to work at Redstone Arsenal MWR Child Development Center as a Training Specialist, Acting Director and Assistant Director. Five years later, the University of Toledo hired her at in the CISP office under university president Lloyd Jacobs.


CISP’s office houses many different student experiences programs including Study Abroad and Camp Adventure.


When asked for a response, the university stated that because this is a personnel matter, they decline to comment. Other UT employees reached out to also replied with the same response.



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