By Shelby Brown–
Interim President Greg Postel announced U of L has been removed from probationary status and full accreditation reinstated today. The vote was passed down in Dallas, Texas at the closing session of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges annual meeting.
“We are pleased by the decision of the SACSCOC to remove the probationary status,” Postel said in a statement.
SACSCOC President Belle Wheelan said she is excited U of L is back in compliance as well.
“The university worked hard to show that they cared about the university enough to make sure that there were no clouds hanging over them anymore and we are very proud,” Wheelan said.
Postel praised the university community for working towards the goal of compliance. The university’s accreditation liaison, Connie Shumake, Joanne Webb and Bob Goldstein were named by Postel as instrumental to the process. He also thanked elected officials.
Board chair David Grissom, Interim Chief Financial Officer Susan Howarth, Shumake and Postel traveled to Texas this past weekend. The group presented one final case for U of L’s accreditation, prior to the vote, Dec. 1.
“(It’s) a great result thanks to a great team effort. (There’s been) a lot of work over the course of this past year and (it’s) a big relief for the entire university community,” Postel said.
Postel said the agency was interested in long term compliance, to ensure U of L’s accreditation isn’t put in jeopardy again.
“The changes that we put in place in response to their concerns were durable changes and not simply fixes to get past the problem,” Postel said.
According to Postel, with help from the board and administration, new policies have been put in place regarding financial control and financial stability. Postel also said the relationship between the U of L Foundation and the university is more clearly defined now.
Postel says the reinstatement shows commitment to accreditation for prospective students as well.
“The tremendous work throughout the year is an advocation our commitment to have an environment where students feel safe, where they feel they’ll receive a quality education and where they don’t have to worry about things like accreditation. That’s the kind of thing students should never have to worry about,” Postel said.
U of L first landed on the accrediting agency’s radar after Governor Matt Bevin dissolved the university’s board of trustees, replacing them with ten hand-picked members. After the move, SACSCOC placed U of L on probation. With the decision ratified by the general assembly, the university was officially in violation with the agency.
Over the next few months, potential violations continued to arise. Allegations of misspent funds, dysfunction and lack of transparency aided in racking up nine potential violations against U of L by September.
The previous month, Interim Greg Postel traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to meet with SACSCOC. He returned confident that U of L was on track to be in compliance. A team from the agency visited U of L in September to verify the claims.
In an exclusive interview with the Cardinal, SACSCOC Vice President Michael Johnson discussed the agency’s goals for the visit. Johnson said that while U of L was striving to meet the expectations, trying may not be enough. Johnson wished U of L all the success.
SACSCOC’s site visit report showed the university in compliance with seven of the nine potential violations.
Being placed on probation disrupted U of L’s regular 10-year accreditation process. The process has resumed and SACSCOC will visit the university in the spring. Postel says the university is prepared for the visit.
“With this hurdle cleared, I am confident we are headed in the right direction, and I look forward to continuing to work with our faculty, staff, students and alumni to ensure a bright future for U of L,” Postel said.
Updated Dec. 5, 4:31 p.m.