Fired Edison VP writes critical letter to SACS

Matt Grant

Fired Edison VP writes critical letter to SACS

CREATED May. 18, 2012

FORT MYERS - Another former vice president at Edison State College is filing a formal complaint about how the school is run.

Dr. Steve Atkins sent a detailed 50-page letter to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, or SACS, describing ongoing problems and cover ups at the college.

That could hurt the college since SACS is in the process of determining whether or not Edison gets to keep its accreditation.

"It is critically important for SACS to understand," wrote Atkins, "that members of the current administration practiced and are still practicing and defending a culture of disregarding rules and regulations."

The move comes a month after another fired VP Bob Beeson also wrote a letter to SACS critical of Edison.

The college said they were "disappointed" to hear about Atkins' "unsolicited comments" and blamed him for the college's 14 accreditation violations.

Read Atkins' complete letter to SACS above.

Edison's full response:

Edison State College was disappointed to learn that Dr. Atkins, former Vice President of Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer at Edison State College, may have offered unsolicited comments to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) regarding the college's accreditation process.

Dr. Atkins' job duties and responsibilities to the college and its students included ensuring compliance with the SACS and program level accrediting agencies' accreditation standards.

Unfortunately, during Dr. Atkins' tenure as Vice President of Academic Affairs at Edison State College, the college experienced a SACS accreditation visit that resulted in 14 adverse recommendations including a recommendation relating to integrity. Also, during his tenure the college experienced a failure to timely seek national program level accreditation for the baccalaureate nursing program.

Since Dr. Atkins' departure from the college, Edison State College has made substantial progress in achieving national accreditation in the baccalaureate nursing program. Under the guidance of Dr. Erin Harrel, the interim vice president of academic affairs, the college has made substantial progress in responding to the SACS recommendations.

Edison State College continues to move forward with a new era of service to its students and communities.

Atkins' response:

I'm not surprised that the college would continue to scapegoat and attack me unfairly, which started when I reported my perception of discriminatory hiring practices.

It is obvious that Edison has not read my complaint. After reading the college's Response to SACS, which did not address the findings, I felt that it was my duty to file the complaint. 

I signed the compliance documents at that time based on information that I believed had been reported to me in good faith by responsible administrators.

Soon afterword, I discovered scandals that had been perpetrated and covered up by those same administrators.  Some of those individuals are still employed by Edison, continue to divert responsibility for their past actions, falsely claim credit for improvements, and report misinformation to SACS.

Matt Grant
mgrant@fox4now.com

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