The following is the text of an editorial which appeared on the Opinion page of the July 1, 2014, Georgetown News-Graphic:
GEORGETOWN, Ky. – As if anyone needed proof that change is underway at Georgetown College, last week should have ended any doubts.
In a surprising move, Georgetown College President M. Dwaine Greene released information the college received a warning from The Southern Association of Colleges & Schools. The warning was issued Thursday after a determination Georgetown College was not in compliance with requirements on financial resources and standards on financial stability.
“‘Warning’ is the less serious of SACSCOC sanctions and is usually levied in the early stages of a situation needing correction,” Greene said.
Under SACSCOC guidelines, Georgetown College has two years to correct the problem or face loss of accreditation.
No one should be surprised by this warning. In his nine months in office, Greene has taken extraordinary steps to give Georgetown College some financial stability. At the same time he has been refreshingly candid about the steps being taken and why they are necessary.
This is the second time in 10 years Georgetown College has been warned about its financial stability. In December 2004, the SAC’s Commission on Colleges issued a warning when the college’s net assets fell from $61 million to $44.5 million in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
That warning was kept mostly within the college’s inner circles until this newspaper reported on it. A year later, SACS praised the college’s accomplishments as its net assets had increased to $52.4 million from $44.5 million.
Certainly it was uncomfortable and not the kind of information Greene or the college wanted published or discussed. But by taking the steps to release the information, the college creates a sense of transparency and integrity as it struggles to get on more solid finical footing.
The steps Greene has taken are painful, but as this sanction signifies, the steps are necessary.
So far, Greene has demonstrated a steady leadership for Georgetown College during a a difficult and awkward time. Of course Greene has the luxury of knowing that this is a problem he did not create, and so he is only responsible for the fixes. Even so, he has shown a willingness to listen to others and an ability to do what he believes is necessary to bring Georgetown College back onto more stable financial ground.
By releasing information about the sanctions, Greene has shown that he is a leader who can be forthcoming with the good and with the bad news. Based upon what we have seen in Greene’s first nine months, he is creating a greater possibility of more frequent good news in the future.
Re-posted from Georgetown News-Graphic website. Subscribers to the News-Graphic may read online or in the July 1, 2014, print edition.