A&M cites business conflict in removing provost from her job

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Texas A&M has removed a provost and executive vice president from her post after an audit found “significant” conflicts of interest with university work awarded to a business run by her spouse.

The findings of the audit involving Provost Karan Watson could bring broad changes by banning spouses and close family members of senior administrators from doing business with the A&M System.

Documents obtained by The Eagle newspaper show in the seven years Watson has held her post, her spouse — who owns a conflict-resolution firm — has received nearly $440,000 for university training services.

Watson says she worked to avoid violations of any university policy and regularly reported her spouse’s work on disclosure forms.

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Watson had previously announced her retirement but was planning to remain until her replacement arrived.