Forum on accreditation leaves questions

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The six issues have been resolved, but the colleges are awaiting approval.

By Grace Reyes

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

The six issues the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges pointed out as violations of accrediting standards have been resolved individually.

The president’s office held a student forum for Northwest Vista College students on Feb. 27 to discuss the six issues.

The six issues included the branding, leadership policy, handling of transfer credits, distinction of colleges, academic policies and Title IV.

“We have built up a case for each one of the issues to submit to SACSCOC,” said Ric Baser, president of Northwest Vista College.

The Alamo Colleges board committee is awaiting SACSCOC confirmation on having the date expedited as early as June.

“We are waiting right on that determination,” Baser said.

“We are hoping that we will get a response in March so we can submit the report some time in April,” he said.

Students who participated in the forum expressed their concern about the accreditation to the board.

However, the panel reassured students that all credits that have been earned at the Alamo Colleges are considered accredited.

“The credits that you earn here, regardless of the status, are still accredited to an accredited institution,” Baser said.

According to an article from the Rivard Report, a no-confidence petition from the staff and faculty of Northwest Vista was signed in September about Chancellor Bruce Leslie, and it raises the question to students of whom to trust.

“Even the staff members here don’t have confidence in him,” said John “Jack” Johnson, business administration sophomore.

“How do they expect students to have confidence in him if the staff doesn’t even have confidence in him?” he said.

“I came here to find out about the failure of leadership and lack of oversight,” said Randy Robinson, liberal arts sophomore.

“I know that some of the faculty didn’t like the leadership, so I wanted to come here to hear both sides of the story,” Robinson said.

Johnson asked how the district plans to restablish confidence in the students in regard to the no-confidence petition.

Baser addressed this concern by explaining that it’s out of his control.

“We can’t handle how this process works; we can’t control it. It’s a normal process of the accreditation agency to determine some issues and give out a warning,” Baser said.

Leslie  added more to this statement by explaining three points that make Alamo Colleges great.

The three points are Alamo Colleges have the lowest in default rates in student loans in the country, have more student degrees and certificates than any other community college in Texas and have a AAA bond rating.

“There’s no quality issue, and that’s where people need to have trust and confidence in, and not lose sight of these details,” Leslie said.

After the meeting, Johnson was unhappy with the answers and wanted to know more about budgeting.

“They said the tuition was not going to rise and that was directly contradicting from what I learned from the last meeting,” Johnson said.

Johnson also wanted to know what was so important to the bond proposal when this college, Northwest Vista and St. Philip’s colleges are in danger of losing accreditation.

Others who led the forum were Debi Gaitan, vice president of student success; Dr. Thomas Cleary, vice chancellor of planning, performance and information technology services; and board Chair Yvonne Katz.

For more information on accreditation, visit www.alamo.edu/nvc/accreditation.

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