- While the Middle States Commission on Higher Education reaffirmed the accreditation of Mount St. Mary’s University in June, the accreditor is asking new questions following the university’s recent controversy.
- Inside Higher Ed reports that the accreditor has asked for information by March 15 about how recent developments may threaten the university’s compliance with provisions relating to integrity, admissions and retention, faculty, and leadership and governance.
- The president’s plan to conduct a survey and use the results to encourage at-risk freshmen to preemptively drop out — as well as his abrupt firing of the provost and two faculty members for their role in the controversy and lack of “loyalty” to the institution — indicate accreditation problems could be realistic.
Mount St. Mary’s President Simon P. Newman has retained the support of the university’s board of trustees. The chairman of the board criticized faculty and alumni for undermining Newman with their criticism. While faculty have voted in favor of the president’s resignation, he has been able to ignore it with the support of the trustees, and even a vocal group of students who rallied for him following the faculty vote.
Some of the problems with Newman’s methods may be founded in his background in business rather than academia. Other governing boards that have selected political or corporate leaders to run institutions have dealt with blowback from faculty who do not respect the choice, including in Iowa and North Carolina. Should the accreditor threaten to revoke accreditation or place the university on probation, however, Mount St. Mary’s trustee support may waiver.