There have been rumors that the Academy was supposed to get probation but that someone persuaded MSCHE to give the Academy only a warning, instead. If you have information to substantiate or refute that rumor, you can submit it here.
Originally, I was inclined to discount the rumor. But today, someone called my attention to this analysis of the Middle States accreditation issue put out by the USMMAAAF two months ago; and, page 5 caught my eye. It’s a list of current Middle States schools with “accreditation at risk.” Every school on the list that failed one or two standards was given “warning” status. Two schools failed three standards. One was placed on probation and the other lost its accreditation (after announcing that it was closing). One school failed seven standards and was placed on probation. The Academy failed five standards and only got a warning. It seems unusual that a failure of three or more standards resulted in probation for the other schools but only a warning in the case of the Academy.
Why is this important? For one thing, if the status level did get jaw-boned down, then it fails to convey to Congress, the students, the faculty, the parents, the alumni and the public in general just how much in danger of losing accreditation the Academy faces. Understate the severity — understate the response. For another, since a warning is not as severe as probation, receiving “only” a warning makes it less likely that the Academy leadership that was responsible for the poor showing with MSCHE will be replaced.
FYI, here’s how MSCHE defines warning status and probation status:
Warning: Indicates that an institution has been determined by the
commission not to meet one or more standards for accreditation.
Probation: Indicates that an institution has been determined by the
commission not to meet one or more standards for accreditation and is an
indication of a serious concern on the part of the Commission regarding
the level and/or scope of non-compliance issues related to the standards.
Source for the MSCHE definitions here (footnotes omitted for clarity).