The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

July 13, 2012

Library staff asks senator and governor to help keep Mountain State operating

Library staffers at Mountain State University, under siege after losing its accreditation, appealed Thursday to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Sen. Joe Manchin to use their influence and power to keep the Beckley-based school open.

About the same time, Manchin sent word that he is making sure “all possible resources” are available to students and personnel, while working in tandem with the U.S. Departments of Education and Veterans Affairs, and West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.

“Could you please check into possible ways to help the employees of MSU?” four employees of the school library asked Manchin in one letter.

“We are loyal to Beckley and the possible closing of the university would economically devastate the state. We want to stay in West Virginia and continue serving the educational needs of your constituents.”

Effective Aug. 27, the Higher Learning Commission, an independent arm of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, is pulling the plug on MSU’s accreditation.

This means the Beckley school can’t award degrees to current students and credits may not be transferred to an accredited school.

The school’s Board of Trustees is planning to appeal.

Manchin, D-W.Va., said the loss of accreditation will impact directly the 3,769 current students, among them some 600 who are veterans, and 560 who are getting financial aid from the state.

“This is truly saddening news for the students, faculty and staff at MSU, and for the communities where the school is located,” the senator said.

“I am working with state and federal agencies to ensure that we do everything possible to help those affected ...”

Manchin said his first priority is the welfare of the students.

“I will also do everything in my power to make sure there are viable opportunities for the faculty and personnel at the school,” he said.

“Finally, I will work in every possible way to reduce the impact on the economics of the communities in Beckley, Martinsburg and the surrounding areas.”

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