Board member reacts to accreditation struggle

After claims that Saddleback may potentially lose its accreditation, board president Donald Wagner speaks out in opposition and accreditation flaws unravel.

Previous interviews revealed claims that the board of trustees were meddling in areas other than school policy, thus partly causing the struggle with Saddleback’s accreditation.

“It’s not close to what the ACCJC said,” Wagner said in opposition to the negative claims. “The board of trustees takes the appropriate role to set policy and keep the finances of the district in order.”

However, the letter sent to president Dr. Richard McCullogh indicating the areas the college still needs improvement in order to keep its accreditation indicates that all “recognized constituent groups come together and take measures to reduce the hostility, cynicism, despair, and fear that continue to plague the college.” The constituency groups referred to include the board of trustees, chancellor, staff, faculty, deans, vice president, president and just about anyone affiliated with Saddleback in any way.

“It wasn’t the board,” Wagner said. “It was the view of various constituency groups.”

Wagner later expressed his dissatisfaction with the previous article on accreditation claiming it is unfair, the way the lariat is trying to scare students and more specifically accused it of “fear mongering.”

The long struggle regarding accreditation affects IVC as it does Saddleback. Both colleges turned out midterm progress reports and Saddleback received positive reports from the visiting team for their efforts to address issues needing change.

“Congratulations, we have three commendations. That’s what these two people said,” Saddleback Academic Senate president Carmen Dominguez said. “We painted a picture that garnered us three commendations from visiting team.”

If Saddleback received commendations in its midterm visit reports for its efforts to improve the areas specified by ACCJC and both colleges seemed to be doing well, why did both receive letters indicating that the commission must take action to terminate accreditation?

The ACCJC is also facing stricter guidelines enforced by the federal government creating a hard and fast deadline of two years for each college to complete required progress. This deadline contributes to the ongoing struggles the college faces with regards to accreditation.

“The commission makes these decisions and never has to list compelling reasons why,” Dominguez said. “It’s so horrifically unjust and unfair that no one will give us a reason why.”

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