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21 Southern colleges, including UTC, sanctioned by SACS

January 14, 2002

One college was stripped of its accreditation, seven were placed on probation and 13 were placed on warning status by the Southern Association of Colleges in December.
The association voted to remove the accreditation of Wood College, a small, private college in Mississippi.

The seven colleges put on probation include Martin Methodist College and Tusculum College in Tennessee. Martin Methodist was cited for financial problems and inadequate institutional planning. Tusculum, a four-year Presbyterian college, was placed on probation for lack of planning, insufficient learning resources and an insufficient number of faculty members.

The 13 colleges placed on warning status included four Tennessee schools: Hiwassee College in Madisonville; Southwest Tennessee Community College and Crichton College, both in Memphis; and Freewill Baptist Bible College in Nashville.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga also was issued a warning. The action wasn't a statement about the university's academic programs but its "sloppy administrative personnel work," according to Dr. John Trimpey, UTC's provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

UTC failed to comply with regulations on academic and professional preparation in undergraduate and graduate programs. Paperwork for part-time faculty was also inadequate, according to the SACS report. Trimpey said he thinks most of the problems deal with personnel paperwork such as faculty vitae.

Universities have 12 months to correct the problems.

SACS accredits nearly 800 schools in 11 Southern states and parts of Latin America. The four sanctions used by the organization are notice, warning, probation and removal from membership.

Students who attend unaccredited colleges are not allowed to receive federal financial aid. As a result, many colleges find it impossible to survive without accreditation.