Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Accreditation Probation for Country's Two Largest HBCUs

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Accreditation Probation for Country's Two Largest HBCUs

Article excerpt

Institutions must address laundry lists of issues after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' meeting last month.

The country's second-largest historically Black university received a laundry list of issues it needs to address in the next year impeding full accreditation, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools officials said at its annual meeting in New Orleans last month.

Texas Southern University joined me nation's largest HBCU - Florida A&M University - and Bishop State Community College in Alabama on the list of HBCUs placed on probation by SACS's Commission on Colleges.

FAMU, which was put on probation last summer, has had its probation extended another six months to address several issues to gain full reaccreditation. Only one item on die school's list of 10 areas of noncompliance filling vacancies on its board of trustees - had been addressed, according to information received by SACS from the university.

Dr. Belle Wheelan, president of the Commission on Colleges, says the list of issues to be rectified may actually be shorter because of a clean audit FAMU received just before SACS met.

"Their audit didn't get in on time," she says. "Some of those (issues) perhaps could have been cleared up."

FAMU received its first clean audit in three years before the accreditation announcement a sure sign that tilings are turning around for the 120-year-old university. President James H. Amnions also notes the school's accreditation status was hindered by the commission's not having the school's latest audit in its hands at its annual meeting.

FAMU was found to be noncompliant on things such as having financial stability and control over sponsored research funds. The school was also told to hire qualified academic and administrative staff.

"This decision was very disappointing in light of our efforts," Amnions stated in a release. "We did everything humanly possible in the last five months to turn this situation around We were responsible for ... a corrective-action plan that significantly improved the university's fiscal affairs."

Texas Southern, which has been enthralled in controversy over financial issues that have surfaced in recent years, was given a year to demonstrate financial stability and re-establish integrity, among other things.

"While we are disappointed by SACS's decision, we look forward to this opportunity to directly address the concerns and prove our financial stability?' the university declared in a statement

A letter sent out to the university community detailed the issues SACS felt needed to be addressed. It also sought to reassure stakeholders that officials were working to solve the problems before the probationary period ends in December 2008. …

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