Accreditation Agency Places Johnson C Smith University on 1 Year probation
JCSU is one of three North Carolina HBCUs the accreditation agency put on probation, along with Bennett College in Greensboro and St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh. Bennett President Phyllis Worthy Dawkins – a JCSU graduate – noted the school has boosted enrollment and philanthropic support over the last year to position itself on firmer financial footing.
Johnson C. Smith University accreditation renewal is on hold due to questions about the school’s financial health. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges put JCSU on probation for a year at its Dec. 5 trustees meeting in Dallas, Texas after citing “a disclosure format on our audit report for the 2016-2017 fiscal year that did not appear on our previous audits,” President Ronald Carter wrote Tuesday in an email to alumni.
SACSCOC’s action is the latest chapter in JCSU’s financial history dating to 2015 when former trustee Talmadge Fair sought a public examination of the school’s fiscal viability. Colleges that lose accreditation are ineligible for federal student financial aid – an essential asset for lower-income students at HBCUs.
It’s said that the SACSCOC board will appoint a Special Committee to visit campus in Fall 2018 to review our status in response to questions about the format change and any additional requested actions, After that time, the SACSCOC Board of Trustees will vote on our reaffirmation of accreditation.
Fair, a 1961 JCSU graduate, launched a vote of no-confidence petition in 2015 to force JCSU’s board to reveal the school’s finances and academics. Fair said Carter and former trustees Chair Monroe Miller stonewalled his inquiries in board meetings and later in private. “I think such a discussion is warranted in the community as it relates to black colleges,” Fair said in 2015.
Dorothy Cowser Yancy, a former JCSU president and 1964 graduate, expressed dismay at probation, which “saw JCSU taken to it’s (sic) lowest level.” Today is a sad day,” she texted alumni after attending the SACSCOC meeting, adding that. “…I cried. We were one of the first HBCU’s (sic) to be accredited in NC. Today Ron Carter took us to the pits.”
Carter insists SACSCOC’s decision won’t harm JCSU’s long-term health. Stating, “The University acts with integrity, responsibility, reliability and trust in everything we do,” he wrote. “We are not daunted by the denial of our reaffirmation and see this as an opportunity for continuous quality improvement which will result in even greater institutional effectiveness.”
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