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An in-depth look at our region's emerging economic, social, political and cultural identity.

Accrediting Agency Puts JCSU On Probation

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Johnson C. Smith University celebrated its 150th anniversary last year

Johnson C. Smith University's accrediting agency has placed the school on probation.

JCSU officials would only say that the school was placed on probation because of concerns over financial stability and control of finances. The decision was made by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

For the past two years, the university had a warning status and was being closely monitored by accreditors. In a press release, university officials said they were told that they presented a strong financial case, but questions were raised about information included on this year’s audit report that did not appear on previous audits. The release did not go into specifics.

A special committee of the accrediting agency will visit JCSU next fall to determine if their concerns have been addressed and if additional actions need to be taken. University officials say they are not discouraged by the school’s probationary status and are confident it will be lifted by the end of next year. In the meantime, the school is still an accredited institution.

JCSU has had financial challenges for several years now. Four years ago, they laid off 21 employees and eliminated or put a hold on 30 other positions. They blamed a drop in enrollment at the time. The school had about 18 hundred students in 2013 and enrollment is down to about 15 hundred today.

The 150-year-old historically black college is in the midst of a change of leadership. Ron Carter was president for nine years. Clarence Ambrister, president of a k-12 boarding school in Philadelphia, will be sworn in JCSU's next president in January. 

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Gwendolyn is an award-winning journalist who has covered a broad range of stories on the local and national levels. Her experience includes producing on-air reports for National Public Radio and she worked full-time as a producer for NPR’s All Things Considered news program for five years. She worked for several years as an on-air contract reporter for CNN in Atlanta and worked in print as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun Media Group, The Washington Post and covered Congress and various federal agencies for the Daily Environment Report and Real Estate Finance Today. Glenn has won awards for her reports from the Maryland-DC-Delaware Press Association, SNA and the first-place radio award from the National Association of Black Journalists.