By Khrystl Brouillette-Janes
Editor, UAS Whalesong
The University of Alaska Board of Regents voted Monday to delay consideration of UA system consolidation.
In an emergency meeting to discuss UA consolidation, the BOR voted 9-2 to “cease consideration of a single accreditation until such time as (the University of Alaska Fairbanks) secures its accreditation in 2021,” according to the approved motion read by Regent Karen Perdue, as reported by the Anchorage Daily News.
The board was responding to a cautionary letter from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the accreditors for all universities in the Northwest region of the U.S., including Alaska.
The NWCCU letter noted its concern that UAF, UAA, and UAS may “have failed to meet critical standards” of accreditation by not being more inclusive in the decisions made in response to large state budget cuts.
“We respectfully urge you [the UA system] to take immediate steps to provide clarity around the authority, roles, and responsibilities of the University of Alaska System and its respective institutions and leadership,” NWCCU President Sonny Ramaswamy wrote in a Sept. 26 letter to the BOR and UA Chancellors.
According to an Oct. 8 email to faculty and staff by UAS Chancellor Rick Caulfield: “The commisions’ concerns were not focused on our academic programs or student services. As you know, UAS very recently earned renewal of its NWCCU accreditation with five commendations.”
A UA news release on Oct. 7 said “the Board also agreed to meet again in the final week of October to review the response to NWCCU, and to hold a strategy session at a future date to further address issues raised by NWCCU.”