On August 8th, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education announced that Penn State was being issued an accreditation warning as a result of the Sandusky scandal fallout. What was seemingly an act of grandstanding, the action riled up the student and alumni base who believed that Middle States was unnecessarily piling on Penn State. Indeed, there was little doubt that Penn State’s outstanding academic reputation had been affected by the Sandusky scandal.
It came as no surprise when student body President Courtney Lennartz announced on Twitter Thursday afternoon that the accreditation warning had been lifted:
Update from President Erickson: Our accreditation warning from the Middle States Commission has been lifted and we are fully accredited! — Courtney Lennartz (@C_Lennartz) November 15, 2012
President Erickson addressed the Middle States situation in his remarks to the Board of Trustees Friday afternoon:
“Today, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education verified that Penn State is in full compliance with all of its requirements, and that our university’s accreditation is solid.
Their report unequivocally stated that Penn State meets all quality standards for accreditation, and it also acknowledged the University’s resilience, fiscal stability and rapid change in the face of numerous challenges. Today’s news lifts a ‘warning’ that Middle States had issued to Penn State on Aug. 8, based on the fallout from the Sandusky scandal.
While Penn State’s accreditation always remained intact, a group of Middle States evaluators visited Penn State in mid-October. After a thorough review, the team determined that Penn State is responding appropriately to the leadership, governance and financial challenges created by the scandal. The evaluation team’s report states it is “impressed by the degree to which Penn State has risen, as a strong campus community, to the sad events that led to its placement on ‘warning’ status.” It also said Penn State’s process to respond to the Freeh recommendations has been “thorough, inclusive, systematic and timely.”
The evaluators also commended the entire Penn State community for “its response to tragic events in a way that, to date, has emphasized unity and positive change over recrimination.”
Carry on, Penn State.