Bennett College Loses Accreditation Appeal, But Vows to Fight On

After two years on probation, in December the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) notified historically Black Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, that it will lose its accreditation. Bennett College President Phyllis Worthy Dawkins promptly appealed the commission’s decision.

In order to demonstrate to the commission that Bennett is financial stable, President Dawkins initiated an emergency “Stand With Bennett” fundraising drive that had a goal of raising $5 million by February 1. The college raised more than $8 million.

The appeal was heard by the Appeals Committee of the College Delegate Assembly on February 18. On February 22, the committee rejected the appeal. In a statement the SACSCOC stated that the decision to revoke accreditation was “reasonable, not arbitrary, and based on the standards cited.” Despite the raising of $8 million by the college, the SACSCOC statement went on to say that “the Appeals Committee found that Bennett College had failed to show that the institution possesses resources demonstrating a stable financial base to support the mission and scope of programs and services.”

The college immediately filed a lawsuit and obtained a court order under which the college would retain its accreditation while the litigation ran its course. The college is also seeking accreditation from the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. The organization will visit the Bennett College campus in March.

President Dawkins stated that “the accreditation process can be slow and even disappointing at times. The negative decision by SACS to remove Bennett from membership will not disrupt the daily operations of college. We will continue educating our young women to become analytical thinkers, effective communicators and phenomenal leaders.  We urge everyone to keep the faith and know that Bennett College is standing strong.”

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