Saturday, December 17, 2011

Scott’s interference might cost FAMU its accreditation

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools says Gov. Rick Scott’s push to place FAMU President James H. Ammons on suspension could violate accreditation standards.

FAMU Chief of Staff Rosalind Fuse-Hall told the Tallahassee Democrat that SACS President Belle Wheelan communicated this message to the university on Friday morning. Wheelan will also write a letter to the Florida governor’s office with this same information.

SACS Standard 3.2.4 states that each member institution’s governing board must be “free from undue influence from political, religious, or other external bodies and [protect] the institution from such influence.”

The governor’s chief of staff, Steve MacNamara, defended his boss’ actions in the newspaper.

"He is not lobbying board members and will not," he said. "We await the letter from Dr. Wheelan and I am sure she will not be threatening FAMU with losing its accreditation based on the governor's statement. The governor will continue to express his opinion on issues he feels strongly about."

Scott admitted that he spoke with FAMU Board of Trustees Chairman Solomon L. Badger and “strongly recommended” that Ammons be placed on leave while state officials continue various investigations at the school. He also called Ammons to notify him about what he told Badger.

If FAMU loses its accreditation, it will become ineligible for all the grant and student financial aid programs run by the federal government. Alumni who graduate after the accreditation is revoked would be ineligible for jobs or graduate schools that require a degree from an accredited baccalaureate program.

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