The board of trustees of the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association has issued a “show-cause order” to historically Black Wilberforce University in Ohio. A show-cause order is a procedural order that requires an institution to present its case as to why its accreditation should not be withdrawn. The university has until December 15, 2014 to respond and a committee will visit the Wilberforce campus in February to see if its concerns have been addressed.
In a letter to Wilma Mishoe, interim president of Wilberforce University, the commission raised a large number of concerns about management, financial stability, and campus facilities. Specifically, the commission noted an accumulated debt of $9.7 million in the university’s operating fund resulting from four straight years of operating deficits. Also, the commission noted $23 million in debt and said the university is “has been in technical default on the requirements of these bonds.” The commission also stated that “the campus had extensive evidence of significant deterioration and deferred maintenance that indicated an unsafe and unhealthy environment for the campus community.”
The commission stated that “the University Board does not function effectively to oversee the institution or its operations” and that “the University administration does not function effectively to help the University realistically meet its challenges.”