SACSCOC site team cancels scheduled meetings at last minute

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Updated 11:55 p.m. Thursday: The meeting to address accreditation concerns will be at 3:30 p.m. in visual arts center Room 120 Friday.

Correction: Dr. Lisa Zottarelli was incorrectly identified. She is a sociology professor.

Public meeting at 3:30 p.m. Friday is scheduled to promote transparency.

By Kyle R. Cotton

Some faculty and staff at this college were upset when the on-site team from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges canceled meetings at the last minute Tuesday with various faculty, chairs, staff, Faculty Senate and the Curriculum Committee.

The 10-member visiting committee from the accrediting agency canceled some 20-minute meetings scheduled 8:15 a.m.-12:10 p.m. Tuesday at this college.

The decision to cancel the meetings was from the SACSCOC special committee chair.

“It really is out of our control,” Dr. Lisa Zottarelli, political science professor and SACSCOC liaison, told The Ranger today. “They are completely driving the bus when they are here.”

Zottarelli said she has scheduled a public meeting 3:30-4 p.m. Friday to alleviate concerns and promote transparency about the accreditation process and as an opportunity for dialogue about the site visits, scheduling decisions and other issues. A location has not been determined.

Zottarelli, in her first semester as SACSCOC liaison, sent out a statement via email Tuesday.

“The SACSCOC special committee on-site team made some significant last-minute changes to their schedule at San Antonio College this morning. Given their short time here on campus and the late notice, many of you walked over to meetings only to discover that the meeting had been canceled.”

“I know every one of you made significant sacrifices and adjustments to schedules to attend the meetings. Tuesday is prime teaching and student engagement time. I can imagine the frustration and disappointment you may have felt. Please know that I appreciate your work on these committees and your role as faculty. I am sorry that I could not give you more notice of the decision,” Zottarelli said.

“I am still learning about this and what I have learned is important to share,” Zottarelli said.

The SACSCOC team is visiting this college, Northwest Vista and St. Philip’s colleges because of concerns over the colleges’ autonomy from the district.

The team is scheduled to meet with executive teams from each college and two board of trustees members, then have an exit interview with each college president.


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