Baylor receives accreditation warning

Photo credit: Liesje Powers

By Joy Moton | Staff Writer

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools announced that it is placing a one-year warning sanction on Baylor.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools determines if campuses in the southern region of the United States meet the standards to be considered an accredited institution. Baylor has been accredited since 1914. The university submits evidence that it is in compliance with the Principles of Accreditation every 10 years, according to Baylor’s website.

Pepper Hamilton conducted an investigation following allegations of Title IX non-compliance last year. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has since requested information from Baylor about possible non-compliance with the standards to be considered an accredited university. After receiving this information, it was determined that Baylor was out of compliance with three standards, including student support systems, control of intercollegiate athletics and institutional environment.

In October, a committee made up of other universities in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools region will visit campus to discuss Baylor’s efforts toward compliance. Based off of its observations, the committee will make a recommendation to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Board of Trustees and determine if Baylor has come into compliance with the three standards by December.

Some seniors graduating this semester are concerned about the status of their degree after they leave Baylor.

“I am furious because I didn’t know that we were in a warning state,” said Dallas senior Breana Allen. “We pay too much money for this university to not be accredited.”

At this point, Baylor still has its accreditation and is making progress toward being in compliance with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ standards, according to Dr. Wesley Null, vice provost for undergraduate education and Baylor’s Southern Association of Colleges and Schools representative.

“Baylor avoided the more severe sanction of probation and received the lesser sanction because of the swift and aggressive action of our board,” Null said. “We’ve made significant progress with the recommendations of the Pepper Hamilton case, so we expect that they will see that when they come to town. Everything is on track. All we need is time to demonstrate that the changes we made will be effective.”

The university is exploring the option of delaying the visit for one year to illustrate compliance, according to Baylor’s website. If the delay is approved, the visit will take place in spring 2018, and the official decision will be expected in December 2018.

“I believe this warning sanction was to be expected given the shortcomings identified, the media exposure and the public release of the Pepper Hamilton findings,” wrote Dr. David E. Garland, interim president, in a statement on Baylor’s website. “We are committed to ongoing support for our Title IX Office, developing more robust education and prevention programs and continuing to strengthen the oversight and integration of athletics within all aspects of the university. We are confident that the full implementation of significant and broad-ranging improvements will adequately address the SACSCOC concerns.”