A team from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education visited Suffolk County Community College March 19-20 to meet with faculty and students and review an SCCC self-study.
Middle States is an accreditation organization for colleges. The accreditation, which is done every eight years, is necessary for university students to receive federal tuition and aid.
At a March student open forum, which was attended by about 30 people, about 15 students from all campuses took the opportunity to voice their opinions about their experiences at Suffolk.
The meeting started off with students giving positive feedback to the questions of the feedback.
“I basically have nothing but good things to say. If this institution wasn’t here I don’t think I would’ve had the opportunity to actually come to college,” said a student from the Eastern campus.
Laura Garcia, president of Student Government Association on the Ammerman campus voiced her positive opinion on the campus, said she believes her voice was heard as a leader on campus.
“We’re able to implement some great changes that I didn’t think were possible as a student, like the doors of opportunity and being able to go up to Albany and fight for student tuition, and fight for the Dreamers and fight for things students care about,” she said.
Garcia advised anyone who is new to “get involved.”
Felicia Molzon, president of the Eastern Campus Phi Theta Kappa honor society, called for “program equity,” noting that the Eastern campus, which is smaller, doesn’t have the same number of events and programs that the Ammerman and Grant campuses do. She also said the college needs to do a better job preparing students for transfer, pointing to the month-long lack of a transfer counselor at the Eastern campus, which she called “detrimental to students” because it was during winter break.
Both Garcia and Molzon believe Suffolk will get reaccreditation. Molzon said she believes the issues brought up will be resolved. Other students at the meeting said the same.
Professor Dan Linker, SCCC’s Middle States Steering Committee co-chair, said he believed “the meeting went really well.”
“I think the students wanted to say good things about Suffolk and they were hesitant to say anything bad. But we wanted to hear anything that we can work on.”
He said he was happy that the students “spoke very well and passionately about their real concerns.” He thinks the major problems brought up will be addressed.
The next steps involve the commission providing an exit report, which will state whether Suffolk meets the commission’s seven standards for accreditation.
Linker believes Suffolk will get accredited, as well as some recommendations on areas for which it needs improvement, which is common, he said.
The determination on Suffolk’s accreditation will be released in June, committee members said.