Pima Community College is on probation

Pima Community College is on probation

CREATED Apr 17, 2013

Reporter: Valerie Cavazos

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- Pima Community College has been put on probation -- as of April 6th. The college has been in hot water for months after it received a scathing report from the Higher Learning Commission.  

Word spread quickly throughout PCC classrooms that the college is on probation. 2nd year student  Christine Posvistak is upset. "I feel wronged. I feel like it's the upity ups. Not the teachers -- not the people who are working here," she said.

The Higher Learning Commission came down hard on the college after complaints of sexual misconduct, financial mismanagement and a culture of fear among employees. Last month, the commission threatened probation. PCC leaders became defensive.

"Man is the ego, ego is the man.  That's what I say about that. I'm upset because it took so long," said 3rd year student Donna Barrett, who said she's been following all thedevelopments.

Now the college has two years to fix the problems or risk losing its accreditation.

Valerie Cavazos asked 2nd year student Bobby Ballesteros, "Would you consider pulling out of PCC?" He answered, "If it comes down to my credits not being valid, I'm going to have to." Posvistak is equally concerned. "I'm hoping that they're grand fathered in, but I'm not positive."

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Dr. Jerry Migler said, "First, we're not losing our accreditation. And I think there is a sense we're on our way to doing that. That is a very, very worse case scenario and I'm convinced we're not going to allow that to happen."

Dr. Migler says students should continue on with their classes. "Assuming that the worst case scenario would happen. Any credits that a student has taken during the time are still valid -- would still transfer. Nothing would change."

He said while the college is on probation, it still will be able to offer students financial aid and academic offerings will remain unchanged. "The quality of our instruction and programs is undiminished," said Dr. Migler.

The college is required to file a monitoring report no later than August 1st -- outlining a plan to address the issues. PCC must also be ready for a comprehensive evaluation visit in the Fall of 2014. The HLC said it will review the visit and the Probation Report in February 2015 to determine whether the College can be removed from Probation. If the College has not resolved the Board's concerns, the HLC said other action may be appropriate.

The Higher Learning Commission told KGUN9 it's rare that colleges lose their accreditation -- but it has happened before. Students, parents and others from the general public with questions regarding the Commission's work should contact John Hausaman at the HLC by email at: info@hlcommission.org or by phone at 312-263-0446.

PCC Board member Dr. Brenda Even said, "The board must continue to grow, learn and develop from this." She said she believes the board is trying to move forward. Dr. Even said an executive meeting is planned Friday night to discuss the probation notification. She said she's seeking input from the community as well.