Penn State University continues to suffer the consequences of misplaced priorities. Not only have severe sanctions been applied to the university by the NCAA but now the accreditation status of the school is being scrutinized. From the article:
Penn State has been put on notice by an accrediting organization that says the university’s status is “in jeopardy” based on recent developments in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which accredits universities in the Mid-Atlantic region, cited information in the school’s internal investigation led by former FBI director Louis Freeh and the severe penalties imposed by the NCAA over the school’s handling of molestation allegations against the former assistant football coach, who was convicted in June of 45 child sexual abuse counts.
To many folks this might come as a bit of a surprise, since it was a football coach who went to prison for breaking the law. This has little to do with the academic integrity of this educational institution. Accreditation is simply a way to audit schools to confirm they are in compliance with meeting the educational needs of their students and preparing them for life after college.
But then there’s this additional statement from the article:
In an Aug. 8 notice, the commission said Penn State remains accredited while “on warning” but it wants a monitoring report submitted by the end of next month detailing steps taken to ensure full compliance with governmental requirements, that the university’s mission is being carried out, that the commission will be fully informed, and that Penn State is complying with standards on leadership and governance as well as integrity.
Okay, so what is the University mission? From the Penn State University website:
Penn State is a multicampus public research university that educates students from Pennsylvania, the nation and the world, and improves the well being and health of individuals and communities through integrated programs of teaching, research, and service.
Well, it’s pretty clear Penn State University violated that last piece of the sentence.
Penn State University has a long-term vision and mission but failed to uphold it, and it also failed to create a culture of fixing problems right when they are identified. As a result, they are paying a steep price.