Integrity Questioned

February 4, 2010

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) will send a team from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges to Northern Marianas College after a series of scandals and events have WASC questioning the integrity of a recent report submitted to the body. From the January 29, 2010 letter that Dr. Barbara Beno President of the WASC Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges sent to NMC:
The Commission also acted to require a Special Visit to take place as soon as can be arranged. The Commission took this action because it learned of a series of events which may place the College out of compliance with the Eligibility Requirements, Standards of Accreditation, and Commission policies. The Special Visit will determine whether the institution is still in compliance with the following Eligibility Requirements and Standards: ER 3 - Governing Board, ER 4 - Chief Executive Officer, ER 5 - Administrative Capacity, ER 21 - Relations with the Accrediting Commission, and Standards LA, m.A and IV.A and B.

The Commission is also concerned that Northern Marianas College staff, in comments reported by the press, have claimed that the Midterm Report was false in its statements. This raises Commission concerns about institutional integrity and the institution's adherence to the Commission's Policy on the Rights and Responsibilities of ACCJC and Member Institutions in the Accrediting Process. The visiting team will therefore also examine the institution's integrity in its relationship with the ACCJC/WASC.
In February 2008 the college was placed under "Show Cause" status for being out of compliance with standards. In A June 2009 letter from the accrediting commission accepted NMC's report, removed Show Cause and reaffirmed accreditation.

Imagine all of the letters, reports and information that has been sent to WASC since one of the most respected professors, Sam McPhetres, was terminated without cause. Other faculty members surely are not going to gloss over any of the problems with the college, the leadership, or any political interference from the Fitial Administration. Some of the former faculty members described a "climate of fear" at the college.

Meanwhile the AG announced that a probe of suspended NMC president Carmen Fernandez is expected to be completed this week. The Saipan Tribune reported:
Fernandez has been on indefinite suspension since Jan. 12 pending the results of two separate investigations being conducted by the Board of Regents and the OAG. Cabrera was named interim president until further notice.

Saipan Tribune learned that the OAG is specifically looking into allegations that Fernandez had the grades of some students changed, while the regents' team is looking into “employment contracts and personnel issues” within the college.

Fernandez has been criticized for her management and leadership style that many believe caused the departure of a large number of college employees, many in key and managerial positions.

During the over two years that Fernandez has been president of the college, there have been a total of over 20 turnovers in leadership positions, including three academic deans, three student services deans, three chief financial officers, three directors of institutional effectiveness, three admission directors, two librarian directors, three bookstore managers, and several department chairpersons.
See also these posts:

NMC President Suspended: Board requests OAG to investigate
Political Firing?


Anonymous said...

Integrity or lack thereof. NMC has always favored locals in hiring, admissions, grading, board appointments, and all other matters, and everyone here knows it.