Dec 21, 2012 | Comments 15
Erskine Cited for TWELVE Violations
Erskine Placed on WARNING
Below is the evaluation of Erskine College and Seminary by SACS (December 10, 2012):
The Commission denied reaffirmation, continued accreditation, and placed . . . on Warning: Erskine College, Due West, South Carolina [f]or twelve months for failure to comply with Core Requirement 2.5 (Institutional effectiveness), Comprehensive Standard 3.2.10 (Administrative staff evaluations), Comprehensive Standard 3.2.13 (Institution‐related entities), Comprehensive Standard 126.96.36.199 (Institutional effectiveness: educational programs), Comprehensive Standard 188.8.131.52 (Institutional effectiveness: administrative support services), Comprehensive Standard 184.108.40.206 (Institutional effectiveness: academic and student support services), Comprehensive Standard 220.127.116.11 (Institutional effectiveness: community/public service), Comprehensive Standard 3.3.2 (Quality enhancement plan), Comprehensive Standard 3.5.1 (General education competencies), Comprehensive Standard 3.5.4 (Terminal degrees of faculty), Comprehensive Standard 3.7.2 (Faculty evaluation), and Comprehensive Standard 3.12.1 (Substantive change) of the Principles of Accreditation.
In other words, Erskine was audited and “failed.” SACS commissioners “denied reaffirmation, continued accreditation, and placed [Erskine] on Warning.” The full text of the report may be read in PDF format HERE. See pages 5 and 6 for the part relevant to Erskine. Explanations of citations are found on the SACS website.
According to e-mails and other communications from President David Norman, the items cited by SACS are rather insignificant and easily corrected by the September 2013 deadline.
There are 12 violations cited by SACS. According to individuals I have spoken with in higher education, this is a staggering indictment of Erskine’s leadership and indicative of systemic administrative failure, and the September deadline cannot be met. However, according to those I spoke with, if progress is apparent, leniency will be shown and more time granted by SACS for remediation.
The following is what will happen if Erskine fails to comply with SACS’ instructions:
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN DECEMBER 2013? The SACSCOC Board of Trustees will consider the accreditation status of Erskine College following review of a First Monitoring Report submitted by the institution addressing the standards cited above for noncompliance and the report of the Special Committee that will visit the institution in fall 2013. The Board will have the following options: (1) reaffirm accreditation and remove the institution from Warning, without an additional report or with a Fifth-Year Follow Up Report; (2) deny reaffirmation of accreditation, continue accreditation, continue Warning and request an additional report; (3) deny reaffirmation of accreditation, continue accreditation, continue Warning or place the institution on Probation, authorize a Special Committee, and request an additional report; and (4) remove the institution from membership with the Commission on Colleges. Commission staff will not speculate on what decision might be made by the Commission’s Board in December 2013. [from a publicly available document provided by SACSCOC]
As to be expected, FACEBOOK sites lit up. On the Alumni for Erskine site, Ms. AS Bowen posted the following insightful and informative comments:
Having been on almost a dozen SACS committes [sic] for 10yr and mid cycle evaluations of schools, I know for a fact that when something came up short (like the details/progress mentioned in the letter), the committee gave the school the opportunity at the time of their week long visit to produce said items. To still be in the final report as a “does not meet” indicates these things do not exist like they should.
I also know that there are volumes of instructions provided literally years in advance of this 10yr visit to aid the school in doing what needs to be done and documenting it appropriately. . . .
That is a REALLY long list. I don’t know that I have ever been on a visiting committee where we indicated more -maybe 5- failure to comply statements. . . .
And while some of these standards may be a bit esoteric, there are some that are so straightforward and easy to achieve that heads should role [sic] for letting them go unmet.
Outspoken Erskine student Mr. Eric Goodwin nearly had a meltdown:
This is no more than the official recognition of what has been reality on Erskine’s campus for several years now. From the administration to the students, talk is abundant and action is rare. It is the Erskine disease: bullshit to cover laziness. Some of you know it best as THRIVE, but it is everywhere: even the Euphies. At some point I guess it catches up to you – SACS finally got us.
In spite of Erskine’s longstanding and continuing conflict with the ARP Church, Erskine WAS NOT cited by SACS for a GOVERNANCE noncompliance. The 12 citations primarily involve the administration of Erskine as an educational institution. In spite of the scare tactics by the secular alums the past two years, decrying the ARP Church’s attempts to regain control over Erskine, the SACS commissioners did not note undue influence by the ARP Church as a citation.
For those of us who were present at the 2010 “Snow” Synod, who read the Moderator’s Commission’s Report, and who have been following Erskine’s rebellious decline over the past two years, we are not surprise by SACS’s “warning.” We have been predicting it. We have been expecting it.
At the 2010 “Snow” Synod, Mr. Ken Wingate, a member of and spokesman for the Moderator’s Commission and the Chairman of the SC Commission on Higher Education, warned a thorough audit by SACS would have dire consequences for Erskine. He said, “You have a problem of systemic failure as an institution due to board and administrative failure.” The response of the secular alums, the secular trustees, and the incompetent administration of then President Rand Ruble was a spin campaign of attack. They said Mr. Wingate and the other members of the Moderator’s Commission were “wrong”; they charged the Moderator’s Commissioners had “made it all up” and were “mean and “power hungry.” Are these things now being said of SACS?
I wonder what former board chairman, Mr. Scott Mitchell, who filed legal action against the General Synod is saying now? I wonder what former President Randy Ruble, a former SACS auditor, the man who appointed as Academic Dean a coach known far and wide for his work as an “Advisor for The Jump Rope Institute,” and who bears considerable responsibility for this accreditation debacle, is saying now? I wonder what former trustees David Chesnut and Parker Young and current trustee Richard Taylor who joined in filing legal action against the ARP Church are saying now? I wonder what anti-ARP Church trustees Nan Campbell, Lisa Senn, Crosland Stuart, and others are saying now? I wonder what Chairman (and ARP Elder) David Conner and trustee (and ARP Minister and former General Synod Moderator) Andy Putnam who have worked assiduously to write the ARP Church out of the bylaws are saying? I WONDER IF THEY ARE SAYING SACS IS NOW EXERCISING UNDUE INFLUENCE!?
Even more importantly, I wonder what prospective students and donors are saying right now. Erskine’s accreditation is now under a dark and ominous cloud, and will be for a number of years at least! Both student recruitment and efforts to raise needed funds for an institution already on the financial brink will undoubtedly be severely hurt.
Well, I know what I am saying: THE 2010 MODERATOR’S COMMISSION WAS RIGHT! All the warnings of the Moderator’s Commission are now checked off!
These are my thoughts,
Charles W. Wilson
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