President Michael Sorrell of Paul Quinn College earlier this afternoon addressed a room full of anxious students, alumni and curious reporters regarding news that Paul Quinn College has lost its accreditation.
The news broke yesterday after Sorrell received a phone call from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools "to inform me that they had voted to remove us from their membership," he said. However, Sorrell stated, he has yet to receive any formal document explaining the decision, and he is confident of his chances to appeal.
"People like to write obituaries," Sorrell said. "It is not time to write Paul Quinn's obituary."
It's been hard times recently for the oldest liberal arts college for African Americans in Texas. A financial scandal broke several years ago when officials were found to be pocketing money from the college. However, since Sorrell took over as president, drastic change has ensued.
"Last year is the first time [in years that] we had a clean audit," Sorrell told Unfair Park.
Financial scandal is not the explanation today for the school's pending loss of accreditation. Instead it's a dearth of fiances. "[SACS] wanted to see that we had more money available," said Kenneth Boston, 29, who works in the business office. "We came up a little shy, which resulted in a loss of accreditation."
Boston speculated that the college will appeal the decision based on the positive direction Sorrell has lead the school in, as well as a 600 percent increase in admission applications from last year.
After the president's announcement, Sorrell walked upstairs into a private meeting with about 30 alum to directly answer their concerns. Media was not allowed inside, and neither were current students.
Three seniors waited on a bench inside the main building for Sorrell to finish meeting with the alum. They hardly felt comforted by the president's promise to appeal the decision. What if the appeal was rejected?
"It's the 'what ifs' that he wouldn't answer that we want to know," said Dereck Fuller, 37, who has only one class left until he can graduate as a biology major with a minor in chemistry.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
In response to a question about how they were feeling, Fuller answered: "It sucks right now."
Shaundrea Guidry, 25, who was seated next to him, echoed his sentiments: "Worried, confused, scared, all of the above," she said.
"Starting over again is not an option," said Fuller. "And that's what we want to know."
"That's our question," said Guidry. "What is the worth of a degree without an accreditation?"