By Jarrett Carter Sr.
Bethune-Cookman University and Tennessee State University headline a list of historically Black institutions to be removed from accreditation sanction during the summer meetings of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges, (SACS-COC) which were postponed until this week due to the COVID-19 viral outbreak.
Bethune-Cookman and Tennessee State, along with Fisk University and Southern University at New Orleans were all removed from probation by the accrediting agency. Each was placed on sanction for issues with financial stability or reporting discrepancies within the past 12 to 18 months.
Financial windfalls from federal funds directed in support of COVID-19 response, state investments, and record philanthropic support of Black colleges in the wake of racial unrest throughout the United States helped to shore up financial outlooks for several institutions facing sanctions.
The commission also reaffirmed accreditation for Dillard University and Stillman College, but placed Saint Augustine’s University warning and cited the institution for multiple deficiencies with governance, financial stability and controls, and conflict of interest.
A special committee will be appointed to review the violations at the university, which stem from multiple whistleblower reports from SAU officials about improper procurement procedures and board interference in school operations.