On Friday evening, Feb. 22, Bennett College President Phyllis Dawkins held a press conference to announce that the college was suing the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges over that organization’s decision to revoke the school’s accreditation.
Dawkins began on a positive note; she said the college would maintain its accreditation during the court proceedings.
“Bennett College is pleased to announce that its accreditation was restored this afternoon by a federal court in Atlanta,” she said at the press conference that began shortly after 6 p.m.
The school has been on a roller coaster ride in recent months as it has attempted to maintain its accreditation – something that’s vital for a college or university. Students at unaccredited schools, among other things, are not eligible for federal financial aid, aren’t able to transfer credits to another school and can find themselves ineligible to obtain professional licenses in some fields once they graduate.
At the Friday evening press conference, Dawkins announced that the school was fighting against SACS’s decision and she encouraged the school’s supporters to remain strong.
“Today, the college moved quickly to file a lawsuit against SACS and to file a temporary restraining order to prevent SACS from revoking the college’s accreditation,” she said.
In December, Bennett College was cited for a lack of financial resources and was notified by the organization that its accreditation was in jeopardy. In response, Bennett raised more than $9.5 million – twice its $5 million goal – and optimistically informed SACS’s appeals committee of that fact. Dawkins said that, despite the tremendous success of the “Stand with Bennett” campaign, SACS delivered an “unfair” ruling against the school.
Dawkins said she was very thankful to Bennett alumni and others who offered their support.
She also said the court proceedings will not interrupt the college’s daily operations.
“We urge everyone to keep the faith and know that Bennett is standing strong,” she said.
Earlier this week, SACS informed Bennett that it wasn’t going to allow the college to keep its accreditation despite the school’s highly successful fundraising effort.
Bennett College has retained two law firms to fight the court battle – one based in Research Triangle Park and one based in Atlanta.
Bennett College is a business like any other business! Sorry to see folks begging for money to spend it on bad or even worse business practices. You send a fool to school you get an educated fool!
I guess part of the $9 million will go to pay for this ridiculous lawsuit…Just accept the fact that you cannot survive and are no longer economically viable…This is like the 3rd time they have been through this isn’t it? Does anyone remember Mountain State University in WV?
I understand the historical significance of Bennett College, I just don’t know how a school with such a small enrollment can stay open
Reading the 3 responses from individuals not very keen on Bennett College surviving, I am positive they are all from the same political persuasion. They lump institutions of higher learning with all other businesses that need to show profit to survive. I doubt any of the three have educations from colleges as anyone that do know the value to all society of citizens that contribute intellectual as well as financial value to our system. To determine the financial contributions of an educational institution to our economy you’ve got to consider the extra money contributed by all of the graduates (as well as those who studied for a shorter time.) The same political leaning feels health care should put money in some businesses coffers and every company will have as their goal the bottom line. Business profit shouldn’t be placed between citizens and their health providers. Insurance companies are a good idea but as long as profits are valued above individuals’ health, there will always be graft. Health care should be provided by a single payer (the government) since they don’t always have to show a big profit for CEOs. If insurance companies could provide their services for the same cost it would the government, then I’d have no problem with that. The political groups that believe that services will always be more expensive when the government does it should not complain if the same “profit” were given to insurance companies that the government would spend.
Excuse me put political persuasions aside. I don’t agree that Bennet shouldn’t survive, but my political persuasion or my level of education or race for that matter has nothing to do with it. And I am offended
By your ascertain that it does. In fact, I am female, white and Republican but I gave Bennett a hefty
Donation cause I think it’s important that we don’t lose this historically black female college.
You need to re-examine your obvious prejudices.
This is comedic on a variety of levels…Firstly, your assumption that everyone that has commented is just some dullard (“I doubt any of the three have educations from colleges as anyone that do know the value to all society of citizens that contribute intellectual as well as financial value to our system.”) What an absurd assumption that just because someone is against a lawsuit that means they have no education; seems like you are trying to invalidate an argument using the “I am smarter than you” tactic…The people that you hire to come fix your plumbing, HVAC, electrical, build a deck, etc. are they all stupid and are not a “value to all society” or “contribute intellectual as well as financial value to our system” because they don’t all have a post-secondary education?
Secondly, when has the government EVER “made a profit?” Government spending is always in the red because it doesn’t have to produce anything; that is why we have a $22T debt. I shouldn’t have to subsidize your healthcare just like I shouldn’t have to subsidize your education…or anyone else’s for that matter! The SACS revoked Bennett’s accreditation, it didn’t close the school down. Bennett College has been down this road before and have proven, once again, that it cannot financially sustain itself; they have been on probation multiple times for the same thing. Having an “11th hour” fundraiser does not make up for years of financial insolvency.