- The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is posing tough questions to Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, who is a focus for potential violations of accreditation standards on political influence.
- Inside Higher Ed reports Bentley's role as a member of the board of the state's new community college system, while also acting as the appointing authority for its membership may present a conflict. Bentley serves and appoints members to other four-year institutions as well.
- Bentley says that he is acting within the requirements of the state constitution, but accreditation officials say that his dual role could place undue political pressure on board members.
Alabama is a regular target for scrutiny over questionable mingling between politics and higher education, specifically around areas of governance. It has long been criticized for the uneven management of its smaller institutions, specifically its historically black colleges, versus the treatment of larger schools like the University of Alabama or Auburn University.
The lesson for executives is to carefully monitor the actions of governors and boards and to regularly engage with lawmakers and accreditation officials about potential violations. Elected officials come and go, but accreditation sanctions are long-lasting and extend beyond political agenda through media coverage and public perception.