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We need to demand the best from our accrediting agency

Accreditation, defined as the process of evaluating the quality of education provided at a college, is an important topic for colleges, especially students.

Basically, only credit hours from an accredited college or university count. If Palomar were to lose its accreditation, then all of our college classes would have been a waste of time.

Last week, an accreditation team from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) conducted its on-campus evaluation visit. ACCJC is the company that handles the accrediting process for Palomar.

Since accreditation is important to us all as students, it makes sense that we should be concerned about the conduct of whatever agency is responsible for evaluating us. And there are some problems with the ACCJC.

The most glaring of which is the fact that they broke several state and federal laws while in the process of evaluating San Francisco City College. This flawed accrediting process eventually led to City College losing its accredited status.

We definitely have reason for concern if corruption exists within the agency responsible for ensuring our college credits are accredited. If there’s no basis for trust, then how can we know if they are doing their job accurately and impartially?

For years, the ACCJC was the sole accrediting organization in California for community colleges. They had what was essentially a monopoly over the issue.

That is, until recently.

Following the debacle with San Francisco City College, the California Community College Board of Governors changed the regulations that made ACCJC a monopoly. This allows fresh, new accrediting organizations to move in.

While this is a good thing, it doesn’t change the fact that the ACCJC is still our accreditation organization this year.

If Palomar were to lose its accreditation, how can we know if the evaluation process was fair and legally sound? That trust has been broken with the Accrediting Commission once, there’s no reason to think it couldn’t happen again.

We need to demand the absolute best from our accreditation organizations.

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