NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Norfolk State University administrators hosted a town hall meeting Wednesday to discuss the school’s accreditation status.
Tuesday, NSU announced the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) voted to remove NSU from probation status.
In a news release, officials said NSU is no longer under the accreditation sanction. Dozens gathered in the NSU student center Wednesday to understand what the news meant.
Junior NSU student Brittnie West said, “People around me were saying we were going to close.”
Although for some, the last year was uncertain, NSU administrators made the future more clear.
During the town hall meeting, Dr. Sandra DeLoatch, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs told the crowd, “I am pleased to inform you that on yesterday the Board of Trustees for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools The Commission on Colleges has determined that Norfolk State University has satisfied all of the previously listed accreditation requirements and has voted to remove the university from probation.”
It was welcomed news to students.
“I was happy. I was like there you go Norfolk. I’m proud of you. Keep it going. We’re Spartans. We’re strong,” Roderick Ragsdale, Jr., Sophomore NSU student said.
“I had total faith in my university so I was like they got this. They may not have it right now, but it’s going to be fixed,” West said.
10 On Your Side has frequently reported on the problems facing NSU. In 2013 the university was given a warning, and then in 2014 it was put on probation.
“It has to do with a lack of continuity in leadership,” Gerald Hunter, Vice President for Finance and Administration said. “Over a period of time it’s pretty easy for an institution that is as complex as a university to get out of compliance.”
Dr. DeLoatch announced during the town hall meeting there were 14 different areas that led to probation. The list included issues related to governing, academics and finances.
“As we reviewed and completed the financial reports for the prior fiscal years there was no theft, there was no misfeasance. There was nothing inappropriate. The issue had to do with the inability to complete the financial statements,” Hunter said.
To prove compliance in some cases meant making changes. In others it meant providing documents to show things were already in line with the expected standards.
“We know that probation sounds very ominous and bad and so we’re just glad to have it lifted so we can go back to business as usual,” Dr. DeLoatch said.
Interim President Eddie Moore, Jr. said, “We don’t want to repeat this ever again.”
School leaders say even though they are breathing a sigh of relief right now, this process was just preparation for their 10 year review that will happen in two years.
For now, their number one priority is to increase the graduation rate.