UWA cleared of ‘dark cloud’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 8, 2004

ATLANTA &045;&045; The South’s most influential education agency has removed the University of West Alabama from probation, clearing the way for school officials to "get on with our regular work."

UWA President Richard Holland, along with six other representatives from the university, listened early Tuesday morning as the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools announced that UWA had been cleared of probation.

More than a year ago, UWA was placed on academic probation because representatives from SACS found there to be "polarization" on the Board of Trustees.

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Earlier this year, the UWA board changed leadership and changed the tone of the entire campus.

After SACS cleared UWA of its probation, Riley said he was well pleased with the work of the current Board.

If Holland and Saad have anything to do with it, the university will indeed move beyond the past year of correction.

Saad, from his office in Mobile, admitted that UWA’s board had some ego problems that needed to be addressed. He also said the direction of the board, these days, is quite a bit different.

Even with the removal of probation, though, Saad is careful to say that boards don’t have the authority to keep the same sort of problems from happening again.

Instead, Saad believes the current board of trustees can operate in a fashion that doesn’t interfere with the daily management of the university.

SACS’s decision to remove UWA from probation ensured a number of things &045;&045; most importantly that the university does not lose its accreditation. If that would have happened, UWA would not have been eligible for federal funds, including grants for students, and the degrees earned by students would not have transferred to other schools.

For nearly a month, Holland has known his university stood a good chance of coming off probation. All along, though, he’s kept a tight lip until Tuesday’s report was given.

At that point, Holland felt fairly comfortable in the news he would receive Tuesday.

Now, there’s nothing to joke about at UWA. As Holland and Saad both said, it’s time for the university to move forward.