Auburn University in Full Compliance, Says Accrediting Agency

AUBURN, Ala.

Auburn University is back in full compliance with its accrediting agency after spending several months quelling concerns about the search for a new president and a potential conflict of interest among its trustees.

Auburn spokesman David Granger said members of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools commission met with university officials at their annual meeting in Atlanta this week and decided that their concerns regarding the school had been properly addressed.

“We’re in compliance with all SACS guidelines,” Granger said after the meeting. He said SACS would confirm that in a letter next month.

Financial ties among trustees helped land AU on probation with SACS in 2003, but the accrediting agency lifted the sanction last December.

However, the commission did authorize a special committee to pay a visit in September to make sure the university was complying with SACS guidelines.

In its report after the visit, the committee cited no examples of noncompliance but raised questions about long-perceived conflicts of interest among trustee business partners. The agency also expressed concerns about the progress being made in the search to replace interim President Ed Richardson — who has temporarily held the post since former President William Walker stepped down in January 2004.

To address the concerns, AU hired two outside consultants to audit financial ties among trustees. SACS accepted the consultants’ conclusions, but suggested a problem exists with public perception of how the university operates.

Auburn has since hired a consultant to review university operations and also a Washington-based headhunter to lead the search for a permanent president at the university.

Associated Press



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