By Wendy Holdren
Mountain State University’s final accreditation appeal has been denied by an appeals panel of the Higher Learning Commission.
Because the appeals panel has now affirmed MSU’s accreditation withdrawal by the HLC, the action is now final and is not subject to further appeal.
MSU President Dr. Richard Sours said officials remained hopeful that the decision would be overturned, but “this was the expected outcome.”
“We were not real optimistic.”
The Board of Trustees of the HLC acted June 28 this year to withdraw accreditation from MSU effective Aug. 27, but after an appeal from the university, the Board agreed to continue accreditation under show-cause until Dec. 31.
The appeals panel met Dec. 4 in Chicago to hear a final appeal from MSU, but they upheld the Board’s decision and let MSU officials know Dec. 18 the appeal was denied.
The University of Charleston will continue the teach-out process with MSU students; any students wishing transfer will have the option to do so at the UC-Beckley campus, which will open its doors Jan. 1.
Sours said UC-Beckley will lease the buildings from MSU, but will only be responsible for paying insurance and utilities.
“It’s not like we’re making money from the lease,” Sours said.
He explained that the entity Mountain State University Inc. cannot cease existence until all bills have been paid, all lawsuits settled, etc.
A number of the lawsuits filed by former nursing students have been grouped together to be heard before a mass litigation panel, Sours said, which will expedite the court process.
After all transactions are settled, Sours said MSU will transfer its assets to UC, either at little or no cost to the University of Charleston.
“The closing of Mountain State University is bittersweet. I’m very sad to see the university go out of existence, but I’m glad the students will be afforded an opportunity to finish their educational goals.”
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By Wendy Holdren
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