BECKLEY, W.Va. – Mountain State University officials today vowed to pursue a vigorous appeal of a Higher Learning Commission decision to withdraw accreditation from the university.
"The Board is committed to continue to do what is in the best interests of the students, faculty and staff of Mountain State University and the community it has served since 1933. It is the Board's intention to promptly appeal the decision in accordance with the procedures available to the University, and to forcefully pursue our appeal. We are also weighing all options to preserve and protect MSU. We will provide updates on a regular basis as decisions are made," stated Jerry Ice, Ed.D., chairman of the MSU Board of Trustees.
Interim President Richard E. Sours said the university is "disappointed and surprised" by the HLC's action. "We do not believe the action was warranted, particularly in the context of the far-reaching and comprehensive changes that have taken place at Mountain State University over the past 12 months."
"To apparently discount all of that is very disappointing," Ice said.
The Higher Learning Commission officially informed MSU of its action in writing following a decision by the HLC Board of Trustees during its annual meeting June 28-29 in Chicago.
The withdrawal of accreditation will not take effect until the appeal process is completed. In the meantime, MSU remains accredited.
The HLC issued its Show Cause Order in June 2011, prompting MSU to embark on a yearlong process to adopt changes and document its compliance with accreditation standards. The university produced a 756-page self study report, filed with the HLC in December 2011, and then hosted a five-member HLC evaluation team in February.
After the evaluation team submitted a report to the HLC on its findings, MSU prepared and submitted a response in late April. An MSU team led by Sours and Ice then traveled to Chicago for a May 7 hearing, during which they made a presentation demonstrating MSU's compliance with accreditation standards and answered questions from HLC representatives.
Sours and Ice both said they are committed to appeal the HLC's decision to demonstrate their firm belief that MSU deserves continuing accreditation.