Baylor and U. of Louisville Get Heat From Accreditor

A regional accreditor has placed Baylor University on warning and the University of Louisville on probation for 12 months. Both sanctions typically require the institutions to correct their deficiencies and report back to the accrediting agency on their actions. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges, one of the nation’s seven regional accrediting agencies, announced its decision on Tuesday at the end of its annual meeting.

The commission found Baylor out of compliance with several accrediting requirements related to the sexual-assault scandal that has plagued the Baptist university in Texas, including a failure to provide adequate support services for students and a failure to have “appropriate fiscal and administrative control” of the institution’s athletics program.

The University of Louisville was given a more serious penalty ostensibly for the actions of Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky. The Republican governor negotiated the resignation of Louisville’s president, James R. Ramsey, and sought through executive order to dismiss and reconstitute the university’s governing board.

Although a state judge overturned the governor’s orders, and reinstated the original board, the episode threw the university’s governance into chaos for a time.

The commission found the university out of compliance with standards that cover the authority of the governing board, its ability to select and evaluate the university’s chief executive, and its freedom from undue political influence.

Both Baylor and Louisville may spend up to two years under each sanction before the commission must act on the status of their accreditation, though it’s unlikely that either would lose its accreditation and, as a result, its access to federal student aid.

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