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FAMU placed on accreditation probation by SACS

Florida A&M University was placed on academic probation by its regional accrediting body today, which cited ongoing issues concerning hazing and financial mismanagement at the school.

For now, the university’s accreditation remains intact. FAMU has 12 months to convince the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools that it has fixed the problems or it could face more devastating consequences.

Interim President Larry Robinson notified the school’s Board of Trustees about the probation this morning, and he will meet with students and staff on Thursday.

Robinson said probation became inevitable once SACS ruled that FAMU had failed to maintain principles of integrity, one of the key core requirements for remaining in good standing.

“We’ve got to take it very seriously,” Robinson said, while also pointing out that the school’s ongoing efforts to address its issues could pay off when a SACS committee visits Tallahassee this spring.

“We’ll have a strong case to make to the special committee that we’re making progress on it,” he said.

In 2007, SACS placed FAMU on a six-month probation after concluding the school did not comply with accrediting standards for leadership, finances and other internal controls. That probation with eventually lifted.

Florida Board of Governors Chairman Dean Colson echoed both the gravity of the SACS decision and optimism that FAMU is on the right track.

“This is serious. Continued accreditation is the lifeblood of any institution of higher education,” Colson said via email. “However, I am encouraged by the important steps already taken the past few months by Florida A&M University’s Board of Trustees and its new administration. The Board of Governors stands ready to help however it can.”