Comptroller audit finds hazardous waste concerns at U.B.

An audit conducted by the N.Y.S. Comptroller released Monday looked at how the University at Buffalo handled hazardous materials like arsenic oxide, from 2015 to 2018. During that time, auditors determined there was a lack of accountability and poor oversight on the North, South, and Downtown campuses.

“There was no certainty that unauthorized individuals couldn't access the materials and there were limited controls over who could purchase them,” said Mark Johnson, a spokesman for Comptroller DiNapoli said via phone.

U.B. was one of seven colleges audited statewide. “They (the other colleges) had some minor problems as well but not the significant internal control weaknesses that we found at SUNY Buffalo.”

Equally as troubling, so said the report: U.B. leaders “were not open and responsive to the issues raised during the audit.” “They were reluctant to hand over material relevant and they dragged their feet it appears,” Johnson said.

In a statement, U.B. said the audit of the potential risks are incorrect and misleading. That statement said in part "the university is overseen by 28 regulatory agencies and there are more than 400 regulations (local, state, federal) to which U.B. adheres. These regulators possess the expertise and jurisdiction to accurately assess whether the university has adequate controls to effectively safeguard communities against hazardous materials and waste. Their observations and findings over many years are in direct conflict with conclusions in the O.S.C. report."

UB has 90 days to come up with an action plan in response to the concerns found in the audit. From there, the state can either deem the plan appropriate or issue another audit.

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