Monday, June 25, 2012

SACS Puts Brewton-Parker on Academic Probation

Happy Monday, everyone.  I hope everyone saw last week's series on fundamentalism and the SBC by 2006 OBU alumnus Clayton Mauritzen.  I appreciate his very fine contribution here, and was especially gratified to learn that people at other Baptist institutions picked up the series and circulated it among their concerned constituents.

We've said it all along: Fundamentalism eventually destroys educational institutions.  It diverts them from their missions, wrecks their reputations, and never fails to disrupt the careers of very capable, committed professors.

In Georgia, the fundamentalist race to the bottom continues apace.  We reported this spring that Brewton-Parker College, a Georgia Baptist Convention-controlled school in Mount Vernon, GA, was denied reaccreditation last summer by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.  By denying BPC's decennial application for reaccreditation, SACS placed the school on warning last June and gave it one year to improve in several critical areas, including institutional effectiveness, financial stability, and having professors insufficiently qualified in the subjects in which they are teaching.

For now, BPC is saying it's disappointed:
MOUNT VERNON — Brewton-Parker College President Mike Simoneaux says he is “extremely disappointed” that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has placed the institution on academic probation and has failed to recognize the progress the college has made in the past year.
(The above quotation is the opening graf of the GBC's newspaper PR publication, the Christian Index. It's password protected, but I can't wait to see the full version to see how the fundamentalists try to spin this.)  Notice how President Simoneaux is trying to say that SACS has failed, not his fundamentalist Bible college.  It's natural to feel disappointed when you realize that your capitulation to fundamentalist demands is the nail in your institution's coffin and it happened on your watch.  A lot of other schools managed to retain their accreditation, in spite of horrible abuses suffered at the hands of fundamentalist trustees and administrators (Exhibit A: the SBC seminaries).  So it's not as if the national accrediting bodies have an agenda against religious institutions.  So it's easy to understand why President Simoneaux is saying he is "Embarrassed" is actually the proper reaction, but fundamentalists have no shame about what they are doing.

Once the accreditation battle is lost, a lot of post-Takeover schools eventually adopt a different line, and it's one I predict Simoneaux and his GBC college president colleagues Emir Caner and Don Dowless will be using soon enough.  They will say that they were presented with a choice between secular elites' vision and God's vision for how their institution should operate.  Since losing your accreditation is horribly embarrassing, they will turn it around and try to wear it as a badge of honor.  Then they'll pursue "accreditation" through one of several joke associations of fundamentalist schools such as the Association for Biblical Higher Education.  It's sad, but BPC seems to be far enough down this road that I doubt they can turn things around.  And it seems quite obvious that the true power brokers (GBC elites) don't even care.


  1. Perhaps Brewton-Parker should follow Shorter's lead and turn to video production!

  2. Perhaps reading the full quotation before writing an article responding to it would be appropriate. Brewton Parker has some issues based on the full statement by Dr. Simoneaux, but they have made progress and are working through the remaining SACS issues.

    1. This post responds to BPC's ongoing path toward losing accreditation in the broader context of the fundamentalist takeover of the three GBC schools. When we get the SACS report and a full copy of the Christian Index story, we may have more to say. Of course President Simoneaux is going to say he's disappointed and that SACS failed to acknowledge the progress BPC has made. But eventually, once BPC transitions to its future as an unaccredited Bible academy, it will pretend not to care that it fails to meet even minimal standards for administration, governance, and financial stability.

      Here is the report when SACS denied BPC's application for continuing accreditation and placed it on warning last year:

      I'm sure they've made progress. After recent trustee actions, it's hard to imagine how things could get worse. With a competent administrator on loan from Truett-McConnell, BPC will doubtless try to climb out of this hole. But given the thoroughgoing fundamentalist takeover as evinced by trustee actions and the horrible fallout from the financial aid scandal, things do not look good for Brewton-Parker.

    2. No, there are NOT working through anything, because they are not capable of doing so. This is what happens at any institution when you hire a president, or other personnel, who have absolutely no leadership skills or abililties to perform their role. Everyone there is mistreated, and I speak from years of experience with BPC. Faculty are abused and the students are cheated out of a quality education because the adminsitration is not willing to pay faculty enough money to get qualified/experienced facutly with SACS required credentials. No one has mentioned this, but one of the problems at BPC is that many of the faculty members do not have the credentials to teach the courses they are assigned. Those will credentials were dismissed last year, stating that it was an issue of financial exigency. (Get your boots on.) To save money of course, but at what cost.

      My recommendation would be to appoint a new board and get a qualified president who knows how to run a business, because that is what private institutions of higher educations are. The downfall of BPC would seriously affect the community and our already weary economy. I think BPC can be saved. Get someone who can do the job.

  3. From the SACS website:
    "When an institution fails to document compliance with a Core Requirement, the Commission places the institution on one of two sanctions, Warning, the lesser of the two, or Probation. These sanctions alert the public to the Commission’s identification of serious issues of non-compliance that could result in loss of membership if not corrected. Sanctions may also be imposed on institutions that fail to document sufficient progress towards achieving compliance with Comprehensive Standards or Federal Requirements."

    Brewton-Parker was in "warning" status. Now it's been demoted to "probation" status.

  4. I agree with your statement, but there is much more to the problems at BPC. I don't know that the college can be saved at this point. Dr. Smith was not a saint, but he was better than this clown they have now.

    1. Maybe you should get to know someone before you
      start calling names. If you have ever worked in
      a college, it takes time to correct issues that
      have been there for years.

  5. What is the IR director doing? You would think that given a years, the compliance regarding core requirements would not be an issue. Maybe too busy chasing the chair of the business division. As the person said before, I think there is more to this.

    1. "Maybe too busy chasing the chair of the business division."

      What does this refer to?

      And what is an IR director?


  6. The "IR director" is Institional Research. That office is responsible for compiling data to meet the accrediation standards.


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