The hearing was a result of the recommendation of the National Advisory Committee of the USDE's Office of Post Secondary Education, Accrediting Agency Evaluation Branch. In the full committee hearing November 13, 1990, the National Advisory Committee voted 10-1 against the re-recognition of SCASA as an accrediting agency (please see "USDE Advisory committee Votes 10-1 against SCASA's Re-recognition" in the December 5, 1990 issue).
The hearing was conducted by John Childers, deputy assistant secretary for Higher Education Programs who acted as the reviewing officer. SCASA was represented by Ralph Boone, D.C., Ph.D., president of SCASA; Myron Brown, D.C., executive secretary of SCASA's Commission on Accreditation; Leroy Moore, D.C., executive director for SCASA; William Volk, Ph.D., president of Pennsylvania College of Straight Chiropractic; and David Andrew, legal counsel.
The SCASA representatives and Mr. Childers sat directly across from each other at the middle of long, imposing conference table. The transcriber was to the right of Mr. Childers. There were several observers in the room who remained silent throughout the proceedings as there was no third party testimony allowed.
On the table in front of the SCASA representatives was a voluminous battery of documentation and support material. But even this was not enough for Mr. Childers, who requested additional information be sent by SCASA at a later date.
Mr. Childers began the hearing with an introduction which noted the two areas where SCASA was determined not in compliance by the National Advisory Committee: the USDE's "Secretary's Procedures and Criteria for Recognition of Accrediting Agencies," subparts 602.14 "National Recognition"; and 602.19 "Regarding Decisions of States and other Accrediting Agencies."
Mr. Andrew, SCASA's legal council opened with a few remarks prior to Dr. Ralph Boone's presentation. Although given an hour, Dr. Boone chose to use only twenty minutes. His address began with the argument that SCASA had been unable to adequately function and comply with the recognition criteria due to efforts by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), International Chiropractors Association (ICA), and the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE). Dr. Boone concluded with a number of facts that SCASA felt demonstrated why they should be considered a reliable accrediting authority.
The remainder of the time, approximately one hour, involved Mr. Childers asking the SCASA representatives questions designed to further clarify if SCASA was in compliance with 602.14 and 602.19. Among the issues raised in this question and answer session:
Question: How many states accepted SCASA graduates?
Question: How many states specifically named SCASA in the state law as an accepted accrediting agency?
Answer: Two: New Hampshire and the District of Columbia.
Question: Why have individual state licensing boards written letters to the USDE asking that SCASA not be re-recognized?
Answer: Because of efforts by the ACA, ICA, and CCE.
Question: Was SCASA recognized by other accrediting agencies?
Answer: SCASA sent letters with copies of their standards to 50 other agencies; only one replied and none recognized SCASA.
Apparently, it is difficult to get other accrediting agencies to recognize another agency.
Two other issues were raised with considerable focus by Mr. Childers: the issue of SCASA granting candidate status to Southern California College of Chiropractic (SCCC, formally Pasadena College of Chiropractic) immediately after the CCE had ceased to recognize the college. The concern was: Did SCASA take into consideration the issues involving CCE denial of recognition? SCASA stated they did.
The issues surrounding SCCC brought up the second important issue: financial stability of all three SCASA colleges. It was revealed that SCCC was still in bankruptcy and had been since May 4, 1987 (for a chronology of SCCC's problems, please see "Southern California College of Chiropractic -- What Happened?" in the December 15, 1989 issue).
It was also revealed that the Pennsylvania College of Straight Chiropractic was still in the process of trying to negotiate the payment of a claim the USDE has against the college for failure to qualify as an eligible institution for student loans. The amount of the claim was originally $4.2 million, but was reduced to the amount of $173,000 (please see "U.S. Department of Education Sets Liability for Pennsylvania College of Straight Chiropractic -- Approximately $173,000" in the January 4, 1991 issue).
Testimony further revealed that Sherman College of Straight Chiropractic has been "denied reaffirmation, continued in accreditation and placed on probation" by the Southern Association (a regional accrediting agency). This was for "failure to comply with criteria section 1.4 "Condition of Eligibility Thirteen," and section 6.3.1 "Financial Resources." (For some insight into Sherman's financial problems, see "Sherman's Financial Woes -- the CCE/SCASA Dilemma," in the August 2, 1991 issue.)
The hearing ended with final statements by SCASA representatives and Mr. Childers stating that he would be making his recommendations to the secretary of education through the assistant secretary of post-secondary education. With the exception of Sherman College being put on probation, the status of SCASA has not changed significantly since the advisory committee hearing in November, 1990. It will be interesting to see if Mr. Childers' recommendation will be materially different from that of the advisory committee.
Editor's Note: When events occur that are of critical importance to the chiropractic profession, it is important for the chiropractic media to be present. That is why Dynamic Chiropractic sent an observer to this hearing. Unfortunately, no other chiropractic publications sent a representative.