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Make changes for us, not WASC

Editorial Cartoon by Michael Escañuelas

Editorial Cartoon by Michael Escañuelas

Now that the WASC team has concluded its Capacity and Preparatory Review, the University of La Verne has crucial steps to take to ensure that it gets reaccredited in 2011, when WASC returns.

The next visit will be the Educational Effectiveness Review and will determine whether or not La Verne deserves reaccreditation.

We do not have any doubt that the University will prevail in the process, but we do suggest it get started on some of the raised concerns.

One of the recommendations put forth by the WASC visiting team was for the University to develop a strategic plan for diversity. It is unfortunate that our Strategic Plan for Diversity, by the same name, was not complete enough for the team to see that we have progressed in our efforts to improve diversity on campus.

We praise the efforts of the Diversity Taskforce for holding public forums to gain community perspectives and have faith that their feedback will be carefully considered. We also hope that hiring a new chief diversity officer will provide beneficial assistance so there will be less questions about how diverse La Verne is.

Another recommendation of the WASC visiting team was to reconsider our organizational structure, which corresponds to the responsibilities of upper level management.

We are glad that the President’s Office is working with the Board of Trustees to implement changes because these issues had been brought to their attention in the past, issues affecting lower-level administrative and classified staff, and sometimes nothing is done. It should not take the threat of losing accreditation to hear the needs of its valued staff.

Finally we are pleased, like WASC, to hear that the University produces annual surpluses because it shows that we do not live outside our means. But we think there needs to be more transparency in what the University does with that money, especially at a time when tuition is increasing every year and many staff members are grossly underpaid.

The WASC team is helping to strengthen the University to make it a better place academically and organizationally. We can do our part too.

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