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Corcoran addresses accreditation controversy in FSU president interview

Funding will continue for virtual students in Florida, education commissioner says
Posted at 5:59 PM, May 15, 2021

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — In Saturday's interviews, Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran was the first to speak to the search committee, but a dark cloud hung over the conversation until a committee member allowed him to address the controversy.

His choice as a candidate for the FSU president position caused the president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to raise concerns to the Florida Board of Governors in a letter sent on May 13.

Belle Wheelan, president of SACSCOC wrote that Corcoran cannot be considered for the presidency while he remains on the state board without violating SACSCOC’s rules.

“Anything that is reported in the media that suggests that the institution might be out of compliance with any of our Principles of Accreditation triggers our Unsolicited Information Policy and an inquiry from the Commission,” wrote Wheelan.

She then went on to warn what losing accreditation could mean for FSU.

“This not only brings bad press to the institution(s) and the possible loss in enrollment and donations, but it endangers the institution's access to federal financial aid,” added Wheelan.

In his interview with the search committee, Corcoran fired back at the letter that was sent to the Florida Board of Governors regarding his candidacy.

"What SACS is doing, SASCOC, in many ways is in it of itself, undue influence. SACS needs FSU and needs Florida more than Florida and FSU need SACS," said Corcoran. "SACS is going down a path that if it continues over the next three, four, or five years, there will be a backlash against the accreditation agency and other alternative methods will start seeing itself and that’s not good for the whole system.”

Corcoran was not voted into the top three to advance into the next round of the presidential search process.

To watch his full interview, click here.