Release Date: Feb 19, 2015
ASU President Gwendolyn E. Boyd today responded to a false and inaccurate editorial written by WSFA TV 12 and carried across multiple state news outlets.
“That is absolutely false” has been my response for most of today as people have read Ken Hare’s opinion editorial that erroneously misrepresents ASU’s status with SACSCOC. Let me say clearly and unequivocally that Alabama State University is only on warning with SACSCOC for our financial status. It is very disheartening that WSFA would allow its local journalist Ken Hare to opine using false information about ASU. Fact checking could have been done by the journalist on the SACSCOC website that lists the status of all schools under its jurisdiction. Additional fact checking could have been done by reading the letters received from SACSCOC that are publicly posted on our ASU website. Responsible journalistic fact checking would also have included a phone call to check with the University to confirm the status before writing incorrect information and evoking negative reactions to information that was clearly false.
The opinion piece, written by Mr. Hare, erroneously stated that ASU “is on SACS probation” and further misrepresented that ASU is on academic probation. Both statements are undeniably false.
As I shared with the Hornet Nation in June of 2014, Alabama State University was placed on warning by SACSCOC. In December of 2014, that warning was extended because of a need for additional financial information. ASU's warning is scheduled for review in June of this year. SACSCOC has not placed Alabama State University on probation as Mr. Hare falsely stated, not once, but three times in the misleading opinion piece.
If Mr. Hare had cared to check the facts, he would have noted that there is a significant difference between probation and warning status.
We have contacted Mr. Hare and his employer, WSFA-TV 12 in Montgomery, Ala., to request a retraction of the erroneous elements of his editorial. The letter from our Director of Media Relations is included below. I want to declare to those who care about the future of this University that we are not on academic probation or any other type of probation. You know as well as I do that these types of vicious rumors harm our recruitment and retention efforts. Please help us stop these false and malicious rumors from spreading.
We remain committed to transparency. We are working diligently to respond to the financial areas of concern that were cited by SACSCOC, and I am confident that the warning status will be lifted. As part of that transparency, we have created a web page that contains information relevant to our accreditation status by SACSCOC. You may visit that web page at http://www.alasu.edu/about-asu/accreditation/sacscoc-accreditation/index.aspx.
As always, I thank you for your continued support of Alabama State University.
Dr. Gwendolyn E. Boyd
WSFA columnist Ken Hare can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WSFA vice president and general manager Eric Duncan can be reached at email@example.com.
ASU MEDIA RELATIONS
The editorial you just did for WSFA TV 12 about ASU contains several items that you wrote and disseminated publicly that are grossly false and not based on any fact or truth.
We ask that you immediately retract the false statements you made about ASU by writing and airing/publishing a separate article/on-air story/electronic communications to all TV 12 subscribers, as well as amending your opinion piece accordingly with the utmost haste -- so the truth is not impaired and ASU is not further hurt by the false and untrue statements that are contained in your article.
To wit, you wrote:
1) "ASU is on academic probation."
That is 100 percent WRONG!
ASU is NOT on academic or any type of probation with any entity or person; nor has it been recently.
Then further down in your article you compare South Carolina State and ASU and you wrote:
2) ASU..."which is also on SACS probation."
That, too, is 100 percent WRONG!
ASU is not on SACS probation, nor has it been recently. SACS has placed ASU on a warning that is set to be reviewed soon, but a warning is not even in the same universe as probation.
For further clarification and information on this, I recommend you inquire with SACS, which should have been done BEFORE you published this opinion for TV 12.
Third and further down, you wrote again that ASU must "get out from under academic probation."
ASU is not, nor has it been on academic probation.
ASU wants an immediate retraction from you and WSFA TV 12 in writing and on the air stating these items listed above are untrue and not based in fact, and for you and TV 12 to also amend your opinion/ editorial immediately on your homepage and wherever else it was disseminated, which includes all electronic forms of communication/your email/text/Constant Contact subscribers and to any RAYCOM affiliates.
These false facts you wrote and disseminated publicly cause ASU great harm.
We hope in the future that you and others at TV 12 make sure your "opinions" are based on truthful facts and not errors and false statements.
Director, MEDIA RELATIONS