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CU accreditation reaffirmed

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Tennessee State University, a public university, and Fisk University, a private university, both located in Nashville, were given warnings.

Lambuth University, a private university affiliated with the United Methodist Church and located in Jackson, was denied accreditation.

“The Cumberland University family is extremely pleased with the result of the SACS review,” said Dr. Harvill Eaton, president of Cumberland University. “As we celebrate we remain steadfast in our commitment to our students and to continuously improving our unique educational experience. And on a more personal note, this result makes me proud of our faculty and staff.”

The reaffirmation process occurs every 10 years and involves an in-depth internal evaluation and report of all of the institutions’ programs and operations. Reaffirmation is not only important to the university with regard to its ability to offer federal financial aid, but it is also an indicator that university programs meet or exceed national standards.

On behalf of the Board of Trust, Dr. Edward Thackston, chairman of the Board, praised the campus community for a successful accreditation review.

“This is testimony to the tremendous amount of effort that many have spent preparing for this review over the last few years,” Thackston said. “There have been significant improvements in Cumberland’s financial, academic and personnel (faculty, staff, and student) strength and quality and I congratulate everyone involved.”

TSU, according to SACS, did not meet basic requirements for effectiveness of the institution. The university has one year to meet basic standards and reappear before the SACS board to seek reaccreditation.

Fisk was reaccredited in 2009. SACS, however, has continued to monitor the university’s finances. SACS officials said Fisk has not met the requirement regarding resources and stability with regard to finances.

Fisk has for a number of months sought to sell a portion of the art collection left to it by renowned artist Georgia O’Keefe in her will. Fisk officials said they need $30 million to keep the college’s doors open.

Fisk officials were given six months to reappear before the SACS board to again discuss the university’s financial condition.

Lambuth, according to a report from Jackson TV station WDEF, has also had issues with financial stability. There was no word as of press time why the SACS panel denied reaccreditation to the university. Lambuth officials said they will appeal the decision. The university retains its accreditation in the meantime.

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