- Associated Press - Thursday, August 21, 2014

DENVER (AP) - Colorado State University officials are standing behind the school’s vice president for research in the wake of a federal report that accused him of improperly hiring friends at the Department of Defense.

Alan Rudolph joined CSU last September after most recently serving as director of Biological and Chemical Technologies for the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security. Rudolph was named in a Defense Department report that found he had improperly secured jobs for people he knew in his previous position there.

CSU provost and executive vice president Rick Miranda sent a note to campus leaders Wednesday afternoon expressing support for Rudolph, The Denver Post reported (http://dpo.st/YBUMOI).

Miranda said CSU knew of the 2013 inquiry, yet still hired Rudolph even though it was not complete. He did not explain when or how the university learned of the investigation.

Rudolph was “very open” and laid out his side for school officials, Miranda said. CSU also conducted a review that included consulting with some of Rudolph’s former supervisors before deciding to hire him.

Rudolph did not respond to a request for comment.

The investigation, prompted by complaints that Rudolph was hiring his friends, found that Rudolph circumvented competitive bidding processes and violated ethical rules. The findings initially were reported by The Washington Post, which obtained a copy of the Nov. 1, 2013, report through a records request.

Rudolph’s lawyer disputed the findings of the report, arguing that contractors, not Rudolph, had the final word on hiring. The report rejected that, noting that contractors are “especially susceptible to real or perceived pressure.”

Miranda said CSU sought feedback from an assistant secretary of defense and an undersecretary at Homeland Security, who were aware of the allegations “and had nothing but high praise for his character, integrity and competency.”

Miranda said the report’s findings did not change CSU’s opinion of Rudolph.

“We fully support Dr. Rudolph’s position at CSU, are confident the university is benefiting greatly from Alan’s expertise and leadership, and we look forward to working alongside him for many years to come,” he wrote.

At CSU, Rudolph serves as the primary liaison with federal research officials and agencies; identifies and manages research opportunities; and develops and oversees interdisciplinary programs and research centers, institutes and other programs, according to the university. CSU spends more than $300 million on research a year.

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Information from: The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com