Press Releases | Trusteeship

Higher Ed Reform Group Defends Alabama Policymakers as Accreditor Meddles with University Governance

Poliakoff: Accreditors should focus on academic quality, not amateur politics
January 27, 2017 by ACTA

WASHINGTON, DC—The American Council of Trustees and Alumni—an advocacy organization which has long urged stronger oversight and accountability in higher education—criticized the decision by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to meddle with the appointment of trustees to Alabama’s state college and university governing boards. Dr. Michael B. Poliakoff, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni and an expert on higher education accreditation, released the following statement addressing the issue:

“The actions in Alabama are yet another attempt by unaccountable accrediting agencies like SACS to undermine duly-elected officials and state law. When schools with abysmal graduation rates and myriad other issues receive accreditation year-in and year-out, it’s clear that the accreditors’ real agenda is political—not academic. Instead of trying to be amateur politicians, accreditors such as SACS should refocus on their actual mission of serving as guarantors of educational quality. Instead, accreditors are once again overstepping their academic mandate by trying to substitute their judgment for those of elected officials.”

ACTA has consistently advocated for gubernatorial board appointment as the best way to ensure transparency in public higher education, since responsibility for the common good clearly and appropriately goes straight back to the governor’s office. In 2014, ACTA convened a bipartisan group of 22 national higher education leaders that signed a statement noting that, “informed and thoughtful appointment by the governor is essential to ensure leadership and accountability for the state’s public higher education system.”


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