Sunday, 26 February 2006

GEOFFREY ALDERMAN CENSORED BY THE SOUTHERN ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGES & SCHOOLS

Geoffrey Alderman issues this statement in a purely personal capacity.


"Last year I accepted an invitation from the Southern Assocoiation of Colleges & Schools (SACS), based in Georgia, USA, to make a presentation to its annual meeting in Atlanta in December 2005.


The presentation involved, inter alia, a critique of the SACS' university and college accreditation methodology.

In January 2006 I was pleased to receive from SACS details of the very positive feedback on that presentation. I was invited to propose a subject for a presentation at the forthcoming SACS annual meeting, which will take place in Orlando, Florida, next December.

Meanwhile, the "Chronicle of Higher Education ran a long article (13 January 2006) on American InterContinental University (AIU). This article triggered a lively debate on the Chronicle's "Forum" website, in which my colleague Dr Grace Telesco (South Florida Campus) and I (London Campus) took part, in defence of the university. Again, I was openly critical of the SACS' accreditation methodology.

I was shocked to receive, subsequent to this debate, an email from SACS withdrawing the invitation to me to propose a presentation for delivery at Orlando. The reason given was that my institution - AIU - had been placed on sanction, which is true. When I queried this 'disinivitation,' and asked to be directed to the relevant SACS policy on this subject, I was referred to the President of SACS, Dr Belle Wheelan.

In an email to me earlier this month Dr Wheelan admitted that there was no SACS policy prohibiting me from making a presentation. But Dr Wheelan added that "as a matter of good PRACTICE, we have not historically accepted proposals from representatives of institutions that are on sanction. It keeps folks from asking, "if that is such a good practice, why is that institution on sanction?" " [To which of course the answer might be: It is SACS that is wrong, not the institution - GA]

I regard this as a quite disingenuous attempt to (a) prevent me making a presentation at Orlando and to (b) cast doubt on the legitimacy of anything I may have said or may say in the foreseeable future critical of SACS.

It is of course also an attack on my academic freedom. I have been prevented not merely from making a presentation at Orlando, but even from proposing a subject for presentation.

I have therefore placed the matter in the hands of the American Association of University Professors, of which I am a member."

STATEMENT ENDS.