More than two weeks after Southern Association of Colleges and Schools removed Paul Quinn College from its membership list by revoking its accreditation, the school now has the support of city and state political leaders who cheer its decision to appeal the move. So said members of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, who held a Monday-afternoon press conference in the school's administrative building lobby.
"We have decided to make the Paul Quinn university a No. 1 priority for the state of Texas for us," said Rep. Sylvester Turner, Houston-based chair of the group that includes 14 House members, as well as state Senators Royce West and Rodney Ellis. Gathered in a line of support behind Turner stood Paul Quinn president Michael Sorrell, Rep. Dan Branch (chair of the House's Higher Education Committee), Raymund Paredes (the state's Commission of Higher Education), and state Rep. Helen Giddings, whose legislative district includes the college.
"Paul Quinn has a lot of support," said Turner, who announced that the caucus would be contacting all 100 or so prospective Paul Quinn students to encourage them to attend in the fall. Also, the caucus announced a fund-raising goal of $1.5 million by the end of August in the hopes of saving the 137-year-old institution.
Sorrell then took the podium to hearty applause from the audience, which included college staff and students.
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"We do not accept SACS's opinion that we ran out of time," said Sorrell. "There is still time left on this clock. We are very, very optimistic about our appeal. Beyond the appeal, we are more optimistic about the friends and the commitments that we heard this morning. We are going to be fine. I would say that to the students that we have. I would say that to the 1,283 who applied to come to school here."