Editorial: Is Loyola going to stay on probation? It doesn’t matter.


Photo credit: Storm Wells

Gabriela Carballo

Next week, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges will announce whether Loyola will remain on probation for one more year or whether we are finally free from their watchful eyes.

Probation. It’s a scary word that has been thrown around a lot at Loyola over the past year, but many students here have no clue what probation actually entails or what one more year of it would mean for Loyola.

Loyola has been on financial probation for almost a year now. On Dec. 11, 2018, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the agency in charge of deciding whether our university is, in fact, an accredited university, announced we would be put under financial monitoring for a year.

And let’s be clear: it was necessary. We spent years mismanaging large sums of money, dipping into our endowment and losing enrollment at a staggering rate. The commission was right to monitor us. We clearly needed guidance.

But will the efforts we have taken over the past year prove enough to set us free?

The short answer is, we don’t know yet. That decision will come early next week, according to University President Tania Tetlow.

And according to Tetlow, it is likely we will spend one more year on probation.

The instinct to panic and the probable fear ringing in many of our heads about a possible second year of probation may seem valid. The potential mystery of what it could mean for the future of Loyola and the status of our degrees after graduation has rightfully concerned students.

But we are here to tell you it is going to be okay. We should not be afraid of the verdict given to us next week. There is no need to panic should we be fated to spend one more year on financial probation.

Perhaps most notably, Tetlow herself said the majority of schools who are placed on financial probation end up spending two years there, simply as a precaution. Our accreditors want to be absolutely sure that we have righted our ship. They don’t want to take the chance that all our successes this year have simply been flukes. And this makes sense.

But it is important to note that we have had some incredible successes since our probation verdict came down one year ago.

Under the guidance of Tetlow, Loyola has made great strides toward a bright and prosperous future for the university. The Faith in the Future Campaign surpassed its fundraising goal of $100 million which includes $22 million worth of new and renovated facilities, new endowed faculty positions, over $36 million in new support for scholarships, and support for exciting new programs such as the Law Advocacy Center and the Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Development.

Loyola sustained its large incoming class rates for the third year in a row this fall. With over 800 students, it is also Loyola’s most diverse and academically strong class in past years. It wasn’t so long ago that smaller-than-expected class sizes set us on this path of financial troubles. Thanks to recent freshman class, the university has begun solving one of its most important problems.

The school has found alternative sources of revenue beyond student tuition such as allowing more production studios to film on campus, the expansion of our online programs and professional degrees and certifications.

Positions in our administration such as provost and honors program director, where faculty members had to serve in interim roles, are finally filled or soon will be. Loyola’s administration finally has a sense of security and stability that it was lacking for a long time.

To reiterate: a second year on probation is not uncommon. Perhaps, next Tuesday we will be met with good news. Perhaps, we will be off probation. But if we are not, it is imperative to realize that this is not a death sentence. This ship is in good hands, and land is just beyond the horizon.