Edward Waters Loses Accreditation After Plagiarism Scandal

Edward Waters Loses Accreditation After Plagiarism Scandal

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.
Edward Waters College has lost its accreditation two months after a plagiarism scandal at the historically Black college, say school officials.

The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools voted to drop Edward Waters from membership.

Edward Waters President Jimmy Jenkins said school leaders learned of the decision at the accrediting agency’s annual meeting in Atlanta earlier this month.

“This appears to be, and is, a state of emergency, but it’s not the end,” Jenkins told students and faculty. “This is a new beginning.”

Officials with Edward Waters College vowed to appeal the decision. The school was founded in 1866 to educate newly freed slaves.

The move comes after the school acknowledged that it had plagiarized material from another college in a document crucial for its reaccreditation bid. Jenkins said he believes the scandal is the reason why the association moved to drop the school.

In October, a Florida Times-Union investigation uncovered similarities between Edward Waters’ Quality Enhancement Plan and that of Alabama A&M University.

Edward Waters officials acknowledged their plan contained material copied from Alabama A&M, repeating word for word significant passages and passing off detailed statistical information as their own.

Jenkins blamed the mistake on an administrator who has since left the school but said the school failed in its oversight of the accrediting process.

He said the college was guilty of a lack of oversight, but not of a lack of integrity.

Students at unaccredited schools cannot receive federal financial aid, and other universities and potential employers may not recognize degrees or course credit from Edward Waters as valid.
It also means the school is not eligible for membership with the United Negro College Fund, a scholarship organization that requires member schools be accredited.

During the appeal, the college will remain accredited and students will continue to receive financial aid. 

—  Associated Press



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