January 21, 2011 Alabama A&M board members respond to SACS complaints
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Ongoing complaints against Alabama A&M University now have the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission asking questions.
SACS oversees the accreditation of colleges and many say a degree from a non-accredited college is worthless.
The five page letter to A&M President Dr. Andrew Hugine demands answers regarding complaints three alumni filed against the university to the SACS Commission. In all, the letter highlights over a dozen issues the university must satisfactorily explain.[Click here to read SACS letter (PDF)]http://files.waff.com/SACS%20Letter.pdf
One of those issues is the university's relationship with the Alabama A&M Research Institute, and the current status of a reported FBI investigation connected to the Institute.
Other questions raised center around if the institution hires qualified personnel, specifically a therapist that allegedly has no qualifications to serve in that job . SACS also questions the institution's ability to exercises appropriate control over its finances.
One such complaint brought up the misuse of federal funds, accusing the university of using the funds to pay for consulting service and relocation expenses for an employee that should not have received them.
A&M Board of Trustee Member, James Montgomery says he and other board members have been left in the dark when it comes to university matters and says he, like SACS, wants answers.
"Many of those areas that are listed in that complaint, I have raised questions about," said Montgomery.
Montgomery says SACS getting involved may be a necessary evil to finally get the university on the right track.
"Now it appears that the only way they are going to get dealt with, we now have to put the university at risk in order to get it dealt with," he said.President Hugine issued this statement:
"The university will adequately respond to the inquiry submitted by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in a timely manner. The university is still fully accredited and in "good standing" by SACS."
Alabama A&M has less than a month to officially respond. If the university can not satisfactorily explain issues brought out in the complaints, it would result in the commission investigating or possibility putting this school on probation.
Four A&M board members have asked for a meeting with governor Bentley over this issue.