The University of Louisville’s accrediting body now says U of L may have violated two more accreditation standards, bringing the total possible violations to nine. The news was first reported by The Louisville Cardinal, the school’s student newspaper.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, U of L’s accrediting body, notified the university of its new potential violations in a July 5 letter. The letter questioned administrators’ qualifications and conflicts of interest, citing reports by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, June 8’s Alvarez & Marsal audit and the “significant” amount of interim senior leadership.
“A recent article by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, ‘Oversight on Conflicts of Interest,’ cited by the Chronicle of Higher Education included copies of completed conflict of interest statements that have raised additional questions about University of Louisville’s ongoing compliance with the Principles of Accreditation,” SACS’ President Belle Wheelan’s July 5 letter said. “In particular, the report raises questions about the institution’s implementation and enforcement of its conflict of interest policy.”
U of L was placed on probation in December for possibly violating three accreditation standards. The list of possible violations now totals nine, questioning the university’s standards for its:
- Governing board
- CEO evaluation/selection
- Conflict of interest (new)
- External influence
- Board dismissal
- Qualified administrative/academic officers (new)
- Institution-related entities
- Financial stability
- Control of finances
University Interim President Greg Postel blasted an email to faculty, promising administrators would meet with SACS in August to work towards accreditation compliance.
“Our Board of Trustees and Foundation Board of Directors have approved a memorandum of understanding that clarifies the relationship between these two organizations. They also have approved revised policies that will ensure clarity in the roles of each organization. We feel these changes will address the concerns raised by SACSCOC,” Postel’s email said, using the acronym for the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. “We will continue to update the SACS issues and the correspondence between our organizations on our accreditation website. And we will keep you posted on any new developments between now and the SACS visit.”
That visit, by SACS’ special committee, is Sept. 19 – 21. The committee would review U of L’s compliance progress, reporting its findings to SACS’ full board. Depending what evidence of progress the committee finds, the university’s probation would be lifted, extended another year, or, it would lose its accreditation. SACS Vice President Patricia Donat said that evidence is essential for U of L to avoid further punishment by SACS.
“(U of L must) provide evidence they’re implementing and enforcing new policies and procedures to address standards,” Donat said. “The principles themselves lay out expectations.”
Losing accreditation means U of L’s academic degrees lose value, credits will not transfer from there, federal financial aid will not be available and the university cannot participate in the NCAA.
Read SAC’s July 5 letter here.