Accreditation agency to visit College of DuPage in wake of recent controversies

 
 

Officials from an accreditation agency will visit College of DuPage next month in the wake of recent controversies at the state's largest community college.

In a letter addressed to COD Acting Interim President Joseph Collins and President Robert Breuder, Higher Learning Commission President Barbara Gellman-Danley said information in media reports "calls into question" whether COD continues to meet the criteria for accreditation by the Chicago-based organization.

And until officials make a site visit to the Glen Ellyn-based school on June 29 and 30, the college's pending reaccreditation has been placed on hold, Gellman-Danley said.

Gellman-Danley's May 5 letter specifically outlines some of the recent news that prompted the organization to call for an on-site evaluation visit: allegations that college administrators and board members spent taxpayer dollars on meals and alcohol at the college's upscale Waterleaf restaurant; a WDCB radio station employee accused of stealing $100,000 from the college; and members of the COD Foundation board who have done business with the school while at the same time making donations.

Higher Learning Commission policy allows for a re-examination of an institution when it is undergoing "serious legal, financial, or ethical investigations."

COD officials said in a news release they welcome the site visit.

"While I am confident that the college fully meets the HLC criteria for accreditation, I understand the need for the HLC to conduct an advisory visit," Collins said in the release. "We will cooperate completely with the visiting team to ensure they have an accurate view of who we are and what we do."

Collins was appointed by board members to oversee day-to-day operations at the school after they placed Breuder on administrative leave last month.

"Under the leadership of our new board of trustees, transparency is of paramount importance," board Chairwoman Kathy Hamilton said in the release. "We welcome the opportunity to make changes or improvements necessary to restore public confidence in this great institution."

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