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PSU accreditation may be in jeopardy

By Jaccii Farris, Reporter, JFarris@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 13 2012 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 14 2012 06:14:25 PM CDT

Penn State University is on notice.

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. -

Penn State University is on notice.

The school's been told, if it doesn't change its ways in the wake of a child sex scandal, it could lose its accreditation.

The organization that accredits colleges and universities says the warning has nothing to do with academics but came out of the Freeh report and the NCAA sanctions.

In a letter dated in August 8th, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the body that accredits colleges and universities, put Penn State on warning its accreditation was in jeopardy.

The commission says the concerns cited have absolutely nothing to do with the quality of education at Penn State but everything to do with the way the university handled the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

"I don't think this was surprising to us after the last year that we have gone through," said Penn State Lehigh Valley Chancellor Ann Williams.

Williams says the university is drafting a response to the commission.

It will detail sweeping policy changes that have come out of the scandal.

Williams say the response will address the Freeh report findings, the NCAA imposed sanctions and any potential lawsuits by Sandusky's victims.

Penn State's response is due back by September 30th.

"We welcome the opportunity to provide the documentation to say we are doing what we need to do and what we should do," said Williams.

The commission says it is unlikely Penn State will lose its accreditation, a process that would mean roughly two years of non compliance.

The commission says most universities spend less than a year on warning status before satisfying compliance issues.

A loss of accreditation would mean a loss of federal dollars.

Williams says Penn State is confident the recent policy changes will result in the warning being lifted.

"We know that we are under the microscope with the whole world right now. What we want to do is make it right," said Williams.

The commission will visit Penn State in the fall before taking action.

A decision could come in November or March.