loss of accreditation is effective Aug. 27, but the school can appeal by July
a 4-hour closed door meeting Tuesday, a group of Mountain State University officials gathered for
a press conference where Chairman of the Board of Trustees Jerry Ice said the
board was surprised and disappointed, and that it would vigorously appeal the
decision by the Higher Learning Commission.
commission’s report ignores the improvements we’ve made over the last year,”
are fighters and we expect to win.”
Last year the Higher
Learning Commission placed the private Beckley-based university on a
"show-cause" status, citing shortcomings in governance, leadership
and faculty. That was after a national agency revoked accreditation for MSU's
school of nursing.
In January of this year,
Mountain State's Board of Trustees
fired former President Charles Polk, who was one of the highest paid college
presidents in the country.
Then the West Virginia
Nursing Board withdrew accreditation for MSU’s school of nursing in February.
The commission’s decision was posted Tuesday to its website. It says MSU lacks effective and appropriate
oversight and has failed to maintain the academic quality of its programs. In
addition, it says the institution lacks human and financial resources.
When Polk was ousted,
Richard Sours was named interim president. He was the only other speaker at the
brief press conference.
He said the appeals
process could take 16 weeks.
At the same time, the
university is obligated to submit teach-out plans, according to Sours. That’s
where another institution agrees to take MSU students so that they may finish
their educational programs.
Sours said the
commission’s withdrawal of accreditation was an emotional blow.
“Obviously the students
are as frustrated as we are, and our faculty are frustrated and apprehensive,”
said Sours. “Employee morale is definitely a factor, and whether or not
students will transfer, that’s something we’re dealing with.”
“Quite frankly I’m not
going to stand up here and say we’re going to prevail and everything will be
happy, I just can’t do that,” he said. “That would be inappropriate and it
wouldn’t be truthful. We don’t know what will happen in the appeal.”
In addition to its main Beckley campus, MSU has
campuses in Center Township, Pa, Martinsburg, WV, Mooresville and Hickory, N.C., and Orlando. FL.