Meharry is Developing Coronavirus Anti-Viral Treatment, Harris-Stowe Names New President and Federal Court Upholds Paine Accreditation Removal

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Meharry President James Hildreth Discusses School Efforts to Create Coronavirus Treatment

Dr. Hildreth talks about Meharry’s efforts to develop anti-viral treatments for coronavirus, the importance of raising awareness in black communities about the virus, and the future of medical training in the era of social distancing.

Harris-Stowe Names Corey Bradford as New President

We talk with the new president about his excitement to lead the flagship black college of his hometown, the differences between HSSU and his previous institution, and the challenges of transitioning into a new presidency during a pandemic.

With Court Ruling, Paine Sets Bad Precedent on Fighting for Accreditation

A federal court has ruled that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges followed its procedures and acted on legitimate evidence in revoking the accreditation of Paine College in 2016.

The embattled private HBCU in Augusta, Ga. challenged the ruling for the past four years on the grounds of bias in SACSCOC’s review and appeal processes. Pending an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the school now only has candidate membership with the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, which granted the status in October 2018 and has not posted any public disclosures on scheduled visits or documentation reviews since then.

If we count Paine’s two years of probation prior to the school being removed from SACSCOC membership, the saga of wasted time and money has extended for the better part of a decade for a school which, ironically enough, fell on hard times because of wasted time and money. What started as an anonymous blog detailing the institution’s significant deficiencies in managing finances, reporting to federal oversight agencies and accrediting bodies all led to today’s ruling and a larger message about HBCUs dealing honestly with their stakeholders and supporters in the last years and months of institutional life.

No one with any sensitivity towards the idea of HBCUs wants to see Paine close, but everyone with common sense looking in on the institution knows that it probably needs to do just that, or to reemerge as another version of itself. Along with its money woes, it is surrounded on all sides of its border by a growing, publicly-supported Augusta University.

It hasn’t attracted millions in individual, corporate or municipal support like Bennett College did when it lost its accreditation, a school which is also currently suing SACSCOC for reinstatement. The campus community, save for a few rallies and editorials in local papers, has been quiet.

In fact, a former Paine vice president is leading a group that is seeking funding to build a $50 million conference center in the city, when about a fourth of that could possibly save the school.

People closest to Paine can’t or won’t save it, and yet, school leaders thought that the best thing they could do with support from the Paine network of graduates, prayer warriors, and advocates was to pay lawyers to defend a losing cause for nearly half of a decade?

Some people would call it crisis fundraising, some people would call it fraud, and no one would call it wise or fair.

There is a lesson for other HBCUs, for leaders within the United Negro College Fund, and for all people who think that SACSCOC or any other accreditor is out to get HBCUs. There are more accredited black colleges than there are schools that have lost their status. A vast majority of them operate in good standing, even with dramatic swings in financial stability or enrollment.

We should not allow nostalgia, political gamesmanship, bad press or any other factor to overwhelm a simple truth that should govern all of our institutions, especially as several more HBCUs are likely months away from tribulations mirroring those at Paine; if we save it, what is the likelihood that it will actually survive?