NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk State University leaders met Friday to discuss the school’s accreditation probation, and 10 On Your Side was on campus as the Board of Visitors heard how “probation” became part of the university’s record.
As a WAVY News crew walked into the Board of Visitors meeting, a student asked us, “What will happen to NSU?” 10 On Your Side shared the question with Interim President Eddie Moore Jr., and asked him to answer it.
“I would tell her: nothing [will happen]. You are enrolled in a fully accredited institution that has some of the finest secondary accreditations,” Moore replied.
As he addressed the board members, Moore said the school being on probation is not a surprise to him, and that he warned the school a year ago it may happen. That’s because the university was not following the proper rules for submitting information to its accrediting agency.
Moore blamed, in part, the school’s “self inspection process” and “falling behind in the financial reporting.”
An independent auditor, who was one of the first to raise red flags at NSU, recently had great news for the school: all the overdue audits have been submitted and the current year audit will be completed ahead of schedule.
Moore also said low-quality instructional facilities are no longer concerns to the accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS.)
Norfolk State’s rector, Thomas Chewning, thought NSU was doing well, getting the house in order, and then got smacked with news of the probation.
“We had so much momentum going, the first reaction was, it takes the wind out of your sail. The second was stages of cancer, disbelief, anger, all those grief and all those things,” Chewning said.
Moore attributed most of the probation to nuances in how NSU reported information, like concerns over institutional effectiveness.
“There is nothing ineffective with what we are doing,” he said. “We have to prove it is effective, document it, submit the files for them to review, and that they conclude what we conclude.”
Moore confirmed enrollment this fall was down 700 students from last fall. “Yes, we are down, and we are analyzing why we are down,” he said. “It was largely the freshman class. We are taking efforts to strengthen next year’s freshman class.”
WAVY.com asked Moore what he would say to incoming freshmen, in light of the school’s probation status. He replied, “I would say to them, the problems are under control. We believe we have a plan to improve them, and they would be enrolling in a fully accredited institution for our 80th anniversary.”