Edison faculty fears college will get probation
FORT MYERS - At least a half dozen faculty members at Edison State College fear the group that grants their accreditation will place the college on probation.
"I'm very worried that we'll be on probation," said Edison English professor Pamela Mangene, who has been with the college for 10 years. "I think it's likely to happen."
Last November, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, or SACS, slapped Edison with a list of 14 violations that need to be fixed in order to keep their accreditation.
The most serious charge was that the college lacked integrity.
"I don't think many of the things that caused the integrity violation," said Mangene, "have been completely addressed."
"With regards to SACS," a college spokesperson said, "we don't know what sanctions, if any, could be imposed at this time."
What sanctions the college could get will be decided when the SACS board votes in June. A probationary status would not impact students but the college would have to demonstrate "significant progress" within nine months.
"Or it could lead to removal of membership," said SACS Vice President Dr. Barry Goldstein.
"I never looks good to be put on a sanction," he said.
Goldstein says a probationary status would be posted on their Web site and the state board of education would be notified.
He says it could also hurt student enrollment and faculty recruitment.
"I do not want to go on probation," said Edison board member Chris Vernon last November. "I want to do as much as I can with my fellow board members to move towards a warning and maybe a clean bill of health if we're being real optimistic."
But Mangene feels a "clean bill of health" isn't going to happen.
"I think probably the least thing that could happen," said Mangene, "is that we'll have severe monitoring reports for a few years."
Goldstein says it is rare for a college to be placed on probation and even rarer to lose membership altogether.
"As a percentage of the total number of institutions in our region," said Goldstein, "[probation] is rare, yes."
"What are the chances Edison State College will be put on probation?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.
"Oh I can't answer that," said Goldstein. "I have no idea."
That decision will be voted on in June.