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Letter: Dickinson State University alive and well

We were disappointed to read the unfair and inaccurate story in Sunday's Dickinson Press that attempted to draw similarities between Dickinson State University and a university in West Virginia that lost its accreditation.

While it is true that both universities had some issues that the Higher Learning Commission looked into, that is where the similarities end. I won't go into great detail, but the biggest difference that the writer failed to address in the story is that DSU was placed "on notice" by the HLC, while the other institution received a "show cause" order from the HLC.

The on notice sanction, according to HLC, means that a course of action -- if continued -- could lead it to be out of compliance with one or more accreditation criteria and requires the institution to report the corrective actions that will be taken. In the meantime, the university remains fully accredited.

A show cause order, on the other hand, requires an institution to prove why its accredited status should not be removed. In the case of the other university, the HLC took this action after adverse accreditation actions were taken by three outside agencies.

No such actions were taken against DSU and, in fact, DSU remains accredited by five outside agencies, including the National League of Nursing Accreditation Commission, one of the same organizations that pulled its accreditation from the other school.

Sunday's story did a great disservice to the dedicated DSU faculty, staff and especially its students. DSU has taken all the necessary steps to address HLC's concerns and continues to serve the region admirably with high-quality academic programs.

We are confident that the HLC will confirm that fact when it gives its final report in November. As a DSU alumnus myself, I'm very proud of my connection with that wonderful university. It will remain an important institution in western North Dakota for years to come.

Larry C. Skogen,

Acting Chancellor, North Dakota University System