Accreditation agency monitoring possible WSU faculty strike

A regional organization that oversees accreditation for colleges in 19 states may require Wright State University to create and submit contingency plans if a faculty union strike proceeds.

The Higher Learning Commission is aware of the potential for a faculty strike and has been in contact with Wright State leaders, said HLC spokesman Steve Kauffman. Wright State president Cheryl Schrader has said that provost Sue Edwards has been in touch with the HLC regarding the possible strike.

» RELATED: Faculty strike could impact Wright State’s enrollment, finances

Kuaffman declined to comment specifically on the situation unfolding at Wright State but said the HLC “has a process in place to protect student interests during an extended suspension of instruction.”

“In these cases, depending on the length of interruption — if any, HLC would require a provisional plan be submitted by an institution,” Kauffman said via email. “That plan would outline a course of action for continuation of instruction for students for that extended period.”

Wright State has communicated with the HLC and is sharing contingency plans with it, spokesman Seth Bauguess said. Bauguess has said the university plans to maintain normal operations and that classes will continue but could be consolidated, taught online or staffed by a substitute.

» RELATED: What will trigger furloughs at WSU? New ‘cost savings’ policy explained

The Higher Learning Commission, based in Chicago, is a regional agency that issues accreditation to degree-granting institutions in 19 states. The organization is able to place schools on probation for issues as it did with Wilberforce University in 2018 for financial problems and a lack of strategic planning.

On Wednesday, the Wright State Chapter of the American Association of University Professors posted a letter to Facebook that encouraged students to contact the HLC with concerns they had regarding the quality of substitute instructors during the strike. The union is set to strike at 8 a.m. Jan. 22, according to a notice filed with the State Employment Relations Board.


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