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ACICS Requests Temporary Restraining Order

ACICS Requests Temporary Restraining Order from Federal District Court to Immediately Halt Implementation of Department of Education Decision 

(December 19, 2016) – On Thursday, December 15, 2016, the Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges and Schools (“ACICS”) asked the federal district court to issue a Temporary Restraining Order in order to prevent implementation of the December 12, 2016 decision by the Department of Education to withdraw ACICS’s recognition as a nationally-recognized accreditation agency. 

Roger Williams, ACICS Interim President, issued the following media statement:  

“We are asking the court to immediately halt implementation of the Department’s decision as we believe it was flawed and potentially unlawful.  ACICS has worked diligently to correct any shortcomings by instituting many new initiatives to address the Department’s concerns and strengthen the accreditation process. We believe the withdrawal of ACICS’s recognition will result in immediate and meaningful harm to hundreds of thousands of students currently enrolled at institutions ACICS accredits.  As such, we are seeking a full review of the decision–making process in order to reverse this decision and maintain our status as a recognized accrediting organization.” 

Williams also provided ACICS–accredited institutions with the following update:  

“This brief update is to simply advise you that last night our legal team submitted our Motion for Temporary Restraining Order against the U.S. Department of Education’s relative to its action this past Monday denying ACICS’ continued recognition. We have had a number of queries from member institutions as to what actions are being undertaken to address this situation and, specifically, when this will occur. Earlier this week we emailed and posted information on our website with an overview of our appeal to the Secretary prior to receipt of his letter, indicating the delay in submission of our brief was a direct consequence of the December 12th letter from the Acting Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education and particularly the onerous conditions outlined in the PPA guidance, which required more time to be fully digested and incorporated into the Motion and supporting documents as an important component of our arguments.  We have now filed with the Federal District Court in the District of Columbia and are asking for expedited consideration.  

There is no question in anyone’s mind here that this has been an incredibly difficult time for all of you facing the worst combination of defamatory commentary and prolonged uncertainty as to the work of this agency and the entire for-profit sector of postsecondary education. While I have only been in my position for four and a half months, I can assure you from 25 years of experience with another recognized agency that we have made great and sustainable progress on strengthening the standards, processes and practices with a renewal agenda focused more clearly on student achievement. The Department chose not to take thoughtful note of these changes and we are now faced with seeking relief through the courts to regain our rightful place as a USDE recognized agency worthy of its history and the serious responsibilities it fully embraces.”  

 For a copy of ACICS’ Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order click here.