Last Modified: Saturday, December 01, 2012 8:11 PM
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration and LSU’s board of supervisors are learning the hard way that making changes to the university can have serious consequences.
University officials were notified last week that the organization that accredits Southern colleges has issues with some of the changes the university is undertaking.
Southern Association of College and Schools (SACS) officials have questioned the appointment of William Jenkins as both the interim chancellor of LSU’s flagship campus and the interim chancellor of the LSU system. SACS leaders have also said the consolidation of LSU in Baton Rouge with its satellite campuses also must be approved by the group’s Commission of Colleges.
A lawyer for the LSU System says that board action this month will quell any concerns by SACS.
SACS’ accreditation factors into the value of a degree from a university and its ability to attract and retain faculty. LSU was already in the midst of a review of its accreditation by SACS.
A tempest in a teapot? Not hardly.
Red flags flew up the flagpole in October when the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education asked LSU officials how ongoing reforms in the public hospital system the university oversees will affect medical students’ training.
An ACGME official warned university leaders that ACGME accreditation is critical for medical students when they apply for specialty training and said LSU’s medical training program should avoid being placed on probation.
Reforms to the state’s public hospital system have been long overdue. Reforms to LSU’s System aren’t nearly as pressing, but proponents suggest are necessary for the system to improve its efficiency.
Yet, the warnings from accrediting agencies suggest such changes can present a minefield that if not property negotiated, could lead to dire results.
This is where members of the LSU Board of Supervisors should be asking thoughtful and detailed questions about these changes and not just acting as a rubber stamp. If that means board members risk their seat as has become the Jindal administration’s reaction to just about any appointee who questions its actions, then so be it.
Monkeying around with any of the university’s accreditation is serious stuff. It should be treated that way by the men and women who are entrusted with LSU’s viability and future.
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This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Ken Stickney, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.