MISSION, SD – Sinte Gleska University (SGU) has been placed on Probation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) North Central Association, which oversees academic accreditation.
The action was effective October 31, 2013.
In a six page letter to SGU President Lionel Bordeaux, the HLC detailed several areas where the tribal university is out of compliance. Lack of leadership and financial accountability top the issues listed in the letter.
According to the November 12th letter, SGU’s Board of Regents did not hold a meeting for 30 months prior to the HLC visit in March 2013. The SGU Board also did not carry out duties specifically assigned to them through their By-Laws, “such as approving the budget, evaluating the chief executive officer, ensuring that a qualified chief financial officer was appointed or developing policies or strategies for resolving serious issues confronting the University related to student debt, monies due from the Tribe and other issues.”
Also, SGU “has not appropriately managed its financial resources: it has been operating with increasing deficits in the general fund since 2006, and, while changes in accounting practices will change the appearance of financial reports, University administrators do not seem to recognize or acknowledge that increasing deficits is not a sustainable practice.”
The letter also states SGU “lacks appropriate human resources to provide financial oversight and conduct timely accounting activities: it does not have competent and trained financial personnel to complete basic functions such as accounting for expenses and revenue in a timely fashion and preparing for audits, thus requiring the assistance of an accountant working remotely from Chicago to complete these basic functions; it does not have an experienced and qualified Chief Financial Officer to manage and oversee the accounting office, timely create a budget for each fiscal year, and oversee financial planning.”
According to the Public Disclosure Notice also issued by the HLC, SGU “is required to file a monitoring report no later than February 1, 2014, outlining how it plans to ensure compliance with the Commission’s Assumed Practices.”
SGU must also “file a Probation Report in March 2015 providing evidence that the University has resolved the concerns of the [HLC] Board identified in the Probation action and evidence that the University meets the Criteria for Accreditation, Core Components and Assumed Practices.”
Finally, SGU “will host a comprehensive evaluation in May 2015 to determine whether the concerns of the [HLC] Board identified in its action have been resolved and the Criteria for Accreditation have been met. At its meeting in October 2015, the [HLC] Board will review materials related to this evaluation and determine whether the University can be removed from Probation. If the University has not resolved the [HLC] Board’s concerns that led to the imposition of Probation and has not demonstrated that it is in compliance with all Criteria for Accreditation, other action may be appropriate.”
The HLC documents pertaining to SGU can be viewed by the public online.