Walker: Nursing accreditation scandal "not a problem"
Former Edison president Walker tried to change audit findingsPhoto: Video by fox4now.com
FORT MYERS - Dr. Walker waited a month or two to tell the board of trustees about the nursing program's lack of accreditation, the college's investigation found.
"They absolutely stood there and said yes were are accredited," former Edison bachelor of science nursing student Ashley Blakely told us last August.
Blakely says she was deceived from day one, told Edison's BSN program was accredited when it never was.
"It took an enormous amount of time to work to succeed in this program," said Blakely. "And it's all wasted."
Even though a national nursing stamp isn't mandatory many grad schools require it for admission. Blakely says several programs have rejected her.
When we asked Walker about Blakely's grad school rejections last August he sounded surprised.
"To my knowledge we have not received any information like that or any claims like that," Walker said.
But 10 days before that interview, Walker sent a memo to the board of trustees.
"We have unconfirmed reports that some of our BSN graduates....have not" been accepted into masters-level programs, Walker wrote.
The college applied for nursing accreditation last April but forgot to mail the check. That was sent two months later in June, with Walker's signature on it.
But walker claims he didn't find out about the accreditation issue until mid-August.
The college's legal team, Fowler-White, isn't buying it. Their report found there is "ample evidence" Walker knew about the accreditation issue a month or two before he ever told the board of trustees in August.
The report found Walker "either failed to inform the board" or "failed to comprehend" the problem.
According to the report, Walker even told the college's VP of legal affairs in July that the accreditation issue was "not a problem" since "most of the college's BSN students wanted to work in hospitals not go to graduate schools."
The Fowler-White report says Walker's handling of the scandal is "troubling" and "demonstrates a failure of leadership, management and supervision of the college." The report also says Walker demonstrated a failure to keep the board "adequately informed of critical matters."
The Florida Department of Education says it is "unacceptable" nursing students were mislead.