Fisk's Accreditation Revisited
by Aundrea Cline-Thomas
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The future of Fisk University is in question as its accreditation is reexamined.
It's a priority that has consumed Dr. James Williams' nearly eight month tenure as President of University.
"It's literally the most critical visit that we've ever had by an accrediting agency ever in our history," Williams said.
After spending years on probation, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) will return to campus to assess the accreditation status of the university. This time the board can either remove Fisk's probationary status by implementing full accreditation or revoke it all together.
"We may have to transfer schools in case we weren't able to keep our accreditation," one student explained.
Poor finances have plagued the University after operating in a deficit for the last five years.
That's why employees were required to take 14 furlough days in a matter of four months.
"It was a hard transition but it had to be done," Dedric Norris, Director of Corporate Relations said. "We have not had a lot of turnover here at Fisk University. Our staff is die hard…want to see Dr. Williams succeed."
"In addition to that we had some pay cuts," Williams explained. "In addition to that our senior leadership had double digit pay cuts."
Alumni, board members and Friends of Fisk helped raise $3.9 million in four months. Addressing the problems has required the contributions and sacrifice of many to preserve future opportunities for students.
"Fisk is a very historic school and it has a lot of excellence, a lot of intelligence and a lot of potential to just be the best," another student said.
Now it's up to SACS to determine if it's enough.
"We're going to be fine because we've done the work," Williams stressed. Not because we hoped. Not because we wished. Not even because we prayed. But because in fact we've done the work."