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La. College placed on 1-year probation by accrediting body

PINEVILLE, La. (BP)–An accrediting agency has placed Louisiana College on probation for one year, giving the school 12 months to meet standards for compliance. During that process the school will maintain its accreditation.

The college made the announcement Dec. 7, reporting that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools had made the decision during its 2004 annual meeting. Louisiana College officials said they would strive in the coming year to maintain accreditation.

The accrediting body found that Louisiana College was not in compliance in matters of governance and academic freedom, according to a statement from the college. SACS’ decision was not a surprise — in October a SACS committee had released similar findings.

Even before the SACS decision, Louisiana College trustees had approved a plan they hope answers the agency’s concerns.

“It is my opinion that SACS is calling on the institution to recognize the seriousness of the accrediting standards,” the college’s interim president, John Traylor, said in a statement. “Trustees, administration and faculty must take the steps necessary to move the college into full compliance, lest we lose membership in SACS.

“The entire college community –- trustees, administration, faculty -– have committed themselves to the actions necessary to bring Louisiana College into compliance with the standards of accreditation,” Traylor said. “We will follow the steps necessary to demonstrate complete compliance and remove Louisiana College from probation and therefore to maintain our accreditation.”

Bill Hudson, chairman of the Louisiana College board of trustees, said the school remains committed to meeting SACS’ requirements.

“We value our long-standing relationship with SACS and will strive to meet the challenges that will ensure that the relationship continues,” Hudson said in a statement.

SACS, in its letter to the college, cited Core Requirement 2.2 as a matter of concern. That requirement reads:

“The institution has a governing board of at least five members that is the legal body with specific authority over the institution. The board is an active policy-making body for the institution and is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the financial resources of the institution are adequate to provide a sound education program.

“The board is not controlled by a minority of board members or by organizations or interests separate from it. Neither the presiding office of the board nor the majority of other voting members of the board have contractual, employment, or personal or familial financial interest in the institution.”

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