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Mar 26, 2013 2:02 AM by Nathan O'Neal

PCC weighs suspending portion of admission standards

TUCSON - Pima Community College administrators are recommending they suspend a portion of their current admission standards that were adopted back in 2011.

This all stems from a scathing report by the Higher Learning Commission that targets the standards along with other findings of unethical hiring practices and accusations of sexual harrassment. The report threatens placing PCC on probation and, after that, the college could face losing its accreditation.

Suzanne Miles, Interim PCC Chancellor, recommended to the board this evening that the admission standards that relate to placement tests be suspended for a period of one year.

The board tabled that decision until a possible former meeting later this week where an official vote might take place.

However, this particular provision isn't new to controversy.

"We did have some controversy from the community... from several groups... their interpretation was that we were not open enrollment anymore or open admissions, and they also fel that we should have had stronger communication with them when we made the chance," Miles recalled.

The standard up for debate required students to take and pass placement tests before they could work toward a degree.

"They could take credit classes but we told them if you assess below 7th grade in all of those areas or in two of those area, you need to declare yourself as non-degree seeking, which meant then that they could not qualify for federal financial aid," Miles said.

PCC now currently requires those students to take remedial classes. However, the college is now backpeddling on that decision, as the standards came under fire in the HLC report for its lack of clarity and input by the community.

"We readily admit that, that had we had the chance to go back and do it over again, we would have had spent more time having this conversation," said Jerry Migler, PCC Provost.

Migler said it's about student success at this point.
"Our ultimate goal is to have students ready for college level coursework, so that they have the skills when they enter a sociology class or psychology class," Migler said.

The college has yet to formally address the claims of sexual harassment and unethical hiring practices in the HLC report. A team at PCC plans on working up a draft to deliver to the board before finalizing the official response, which they will file in hopes of avoiding probation.

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