Cheyney University calls for resolution to be removed from probation

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Saturday, February 24, 2024
Cheyney University calls for resolution to be removed from probation
Cheyney University calls for resolution to be removed from probation

CHEYNEY, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Officials with Cheyney University are fighting to protect the school's reputation after it was put on probation last year.

University leaders say it sends a bad message and they're calling on a higher education commission to reconsider.

"Cheyney University demands justice, transparency and a fair resolution to this unwarranted probation," said Cheyney University President Aaron Walton.

Walton said the Middle States Commission on Higher Education placed the nation's first historically Black college on probation back in November 2023, despite making significant improvements over the past two years.

"The hard work and dedication of its students, faculty, and staff is undeniable, unprecedented and perhaps unimaginable for those of us who are not living it every single day," said Dr. Daniel Greenstein who is the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Chancellor.

However, the Commission said in a letter, the university's accreditation is in jeopardy because of "insufficient evidence" that the institution is in compliance several standards, including ethics and integrity, the learning experience and more.

Walton said the Commission's decision raises serious concerns about the accreditation process and highlights the need for a framework.

"We believe the action is unprecedented and unjust," said Walton. "The direct move to probation from the Middle States Commission, bypassing the typical warning phase, is not only unusual but contradicts the overwhelming positive evaluations from two visiting teams in 2023."

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro also expressed his frustration and urged the Commission to reverse the decision in a letter.

"Given the University's close work with the Commission's liaison and clear progress over the past several years, I believe Middle States erred in its hasty decision to place Cheyney on probationary status without rationale and without warning," said Shapiro.

Walton wants an urgent meeting with the Commission, university leaders and the U.S. Department of Education within 30 days to discuss a plan for the university to remove the probationary status.

"We will not rest until our voice is heard, progress is acknowledged and status is rightfully restored," Walton said.

The Commission requested a report from university leaders showing evidence that they're in compliance with the regulations. The report is due March 1.