President of VUL's Accreditation Agency Speaks Out
Lynchburg, VA - Administrators at the Virginia University of Lynchburg (VUL) continue to dodge questions about the university's financial stability, as the president of its accrediting body speaks out for the first time.
Roughly 70 VUL students were kicked out of off-campus housing Tuesday. The landlord claims the university hasn't been paying rent for several months.
Dr. Paul Boatner is president of VUL's accreditation agency. He says any time anyone files a complaint against one of their accredited universities, they launch an investigation.
Dr. Boatner won't say whether there's an open investigation against VUL, but says all their schools are required to submit an annual audit by the end of October.
The Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, or TRACS, is the gatekeeper of VUL's federal funding.
"They look at all aspects of an institution and there are certain standards that institutions have to make relative to all those different areas," Dr. Boatner explained.
One of those standards is financial stability. Dr. Boatner says schools are required to submit an audit every year.
Dr. Boatner can't talk specifics about whether VUL is being investigated, but agrees it's 'rare' to have college students evicted from off-campus housing.
"I only know what I read in the paper. And my point is, we have to investigate before we come to a conclusion," Boatner said.
There's another agency responsible for making sure institutions' finances are stable and business practices sound.
The State Council for Higher Education of Virginia released a statement to ABC saying:
"It's aware of the situation at the University of Lynchburg and has been in touch with school officials. But, at this time it views this as a legal matter between the University and another party that does not affect certification."
ABC 13 tried to bring our questions to Dr. Ralph Reavis. Employees told us he was in a meeting, but had been receiving our messages and that he asked us to leave.
Back at TRACS, there are ties to VUL.
The provost, Kathy Franklin, sits on the commission board, tasked with deciding whether to pull an institution's accreditation and all the federal money that comes with it.
It is important to note, that 15 of the board's 18 members have ties to institutions. The president says they must recuse themselves from discussions that involve their schools to avoid a conflict of interest.
VUL's president did not respond to our phones calls or emails again Wednesday.
When ABC 13 went to the university in person, they threatened to have us arrested for trespassing.