Brewton-Parker College challenges SACS accreditation finding
by Celia Shortt
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Committee on Colleges stripped Brewton-Parker College of its accreditation earlier this week, and the school is appealing their decision.
Brewton-Parker technically will remain accredited through the appeal process and until all legal options have been utilized.
“Of course we are disappointed in the decision of the Executive Committee of SACS COC taken today,” said Dr. Ergun Caner, president of Brewton-Parker. “Brewton-Parker College has been accredited by SACS for over 50 years (since 1962) and today is another step in the arduous journey that we have traveled since 2009.”
Brewton-Parker is a Christian college affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention. It has a satellite campus at the Central Educational Center in Newnan.
Mark Whitlock, CEO of the CEC, is currently “not aware of changes planned” in Brewton-Parker’s relationship with the CEC in light of this loss of accreditation.
President Caner first relayed the news to the board of trustees by email and then shared with all staff, faculty and administration in a special called meeting.
“The most important points I can relay to you is that immediately after receiving the phone call, we have taken immediate steps to challenge this ruling and stay the loss of accreditation,” he said. “First, we must remain focused and avoid thinking our case is lost. Brewton-Parker College remains accredited but on probation today. Second, Brewton-Parker College has 10 days to file an appeal with SACS at their headquarters … our right to an appeal in August of this year will be exercised after we receive the official notification from SACS. We remain confident this most recent ruling will be reversed then, and all parties shall be satisfied with the conclusion.”
The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported Brewton-Parker had been on probation for the last year because of “financial failures.”
Earlier this week, Caner along with four others from Brewton-Parker College traveled to San Antonio, Texas, to address the SACS committee.
Caner indicated the college representatives with him successfully demonstrated the necessary trends and controls which SACS demands for an accredited institution of higher learning.
“We are operationally in the black, our present budget is balanced, we project finishing this fiscal year in the black, and our Board of Trustees approved a balanced budget for 2014-2015,” he said.
In addition to debt being down, and giving to Brewton-Parker being up, Caner indicated “enrollment, both in headcount and full-time equivalency, is up for the third straight year.”
Caner told the trustees, faculty, and staff how important it was for Georgia Baptists and the general public to realize Brewton-Parker College remains accredited albeit on probation during the entire appeal process.
“We have also instructed our attorneys to file an appeal in the courts, challenging the finding of the SACS committee,” he added.
Caner believes the school’s 110-year history remains the foundation for its future.
“We shall not only survive,” he said. “I believe we shall be vindicated.”