Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Committee on Colleges responds to my formal complaint against USA.

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Committee on Colleges responds to my formal complaint against USA.

November 2, 2017

While I disagree with almost every aspect of SACS COC’s investigation and their findings into my formal complaint of misconduct by administrators at the University of South Alabama including their justification to threaten me with arrest, if I step onto their campus, again. I watched the events unfold before me (from May 15 to September 9) and SACS COC didn’t. Apparently, I failed to explain what happened in a meaningful way that rose to some level that would trigger a worthwhile investigation much less violations against the school.

While President Waldrop said, “no” someone else, a faculty member, thought my project was worthy enough to have a Student Center official email me for a tour of their meeting rooms. What I found most disturbing was the conduct or the lack of servility by a university official who didn’t know me or know whether my family had given ten cents or a million dollars to this university. She simply couldn’t be bothered with my problems. Oddly, enough we share a common connection — Rebecca Fields. However, I never got to mention this to her, this summer.

As a counselor for the State of Alabama Department of Rehabilitation, Ms. Field awarded me a 4-year state scholarship due to my dyslexia. I was encouraged to attend AUM, which I did my first year. However, after one weekend trip to Auburn, I finished school on the plains where I got my degree and I walked away from college with no debt. Ms. Andrea Agnew, the Assistant Dean of Students and the Director for Student Disability Services behavior was omitted from this report as drafted. In 2015, Ms. Agnew was named Advocate of the Year.

The Advocate of the Year award recognizes employees across various professions devoted to assisting people with disabilities in being productive members of the community and giving them equal access and opportunities. Agnew was selected by a committee to receive the award. She was nominated for the award by Becky Fields, statewide project director for the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services College Prep Program, a college readiness transition program for students with disabilities. The program is currently offered on the USA campus.

Its hard to believe we’re talking about the same person just two years, later.

— Ted


October 26, 2017

Mr. Thomas E. Burnett, Jr.

500 Lincoln Street, Suite 8-105

Daphne, AL 36526

Dear Mr. Burnett:

On September 6, 2017, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS COC) received a formal Complaint Form from you regarding the University of South Alabama . In the complaint you allege that as a new vendor you were mistreated, lied to, and threatened with arrest even though you had permission to be on campus.

You cited the following accreditation standards from the 2012 edition of the Principles of Accreditation with which you believe the institution is non-compliant:

•  Principle of Integrity 1.1 (Integrity)

•  Core Requirement 2.9 (Learning resources and services)

•  Core Requirement 2.10 (Student support services)

•  Core Requirement 2.12 (Quality Enhancement Plan)

•  Comprehensive Standard 3.2.8 (Qualified administrative/academic officers)

•  Comprehensive Standard 3.2.10 (Administrative staff evaluations)

•  Comprehensive Standard 3.2.13 (Institution-related entities)

Included with your complaint were copies of the following documents to support your allegations:

•  “Big data”

•  Email messages and letters

•  “Famous People with Dyslexia”

•  “Ted Burnett’s Partial Biography”

•  “The role that dyslexia has played in my life”

The Commission has completed its review of your complaint with its attending documentation. Based on all the information, SACS COC has made the following determinations:

•  The Principle of Integrity 1.1 (Integrity) is the bedrock principle for the Commission. This standard sets the expectation that member institutions will deal openly and honestly with the Commission and with their constituencies. As the cornerstone requirement for membership, it carries with it the weight of sanction for non-compliance up to and including loss of membership; therefore allegations of noncompliance with this standard are regarded with the utmost seriousness. Although you had received a “no” response from the President of the institution to have a space on campus for dyslexic students to meet, you persisted with emailing ninety university (acuity, and trying to arrange a meeting with a staff member.  These actions resulted in a trespass warning. [This report fails to acknowledge the timelines. This last statement as written by the SACS COC President Wheelan isn’t true. In my complaint, I provided SACS COC with a series of emails all were dated with times.] While understanding your passion, SACS COC found no documentation to support the allegation that things that happened after the President said “no” were examples of a loss of institutional integrity. [If the university didn’t want to be financially involved or involved at all in this organization, why didn’t the President Waldrop simply allow for a club to be formed? The evidence supporting it is overwhelming. When USA launched their honor’s college this fall, they couldn’t or didn’t name a single graduate in the honor’s programs 18 year history to justify the creation of their honors college. On the other hand, I gave Tony endless evidence for having a dyslexic club on USA’s campus. The “A” students win once again while the “C” and “D” students lose. Some form of dyslexia affects 1 in 5 students.]

1 866 Southern Lane • Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 • Telephone 404/679 -4500 • Fax 404/679-4558


Mr. Thomas E. Burnett, Jr.

Page Two

October 26, 2017

•  Core Requirement 2.9 (Learning resources and services) expects an institution, through ownership or formal arrangements or agreements, to provide and support student and faculty access and user privileges to adequate library collections and services and to other learning information resources consistent with the degrees offered. It also expects an institution to provide sufficient collections, resources, and services to support all its educational, research, and public service programs. You provided no documentation to support the contention that the institution is non-compliant with this accreditation standard. Your reference to the library was in connection with your attempt to receive free space for a service you believe is critical but one that the institution’s President had already rejected.

•  Core Requirement 2.10 (Student support services) , expects an institution to provide student support programs, services, and activities consistent with its mission that are intended to promote student learning and enhance the development of its students . You made no reference to the institution’s mission statement and provided no documentation to support the idea that the institution does not have support services . The university does provide an array of student support services.

•  Core Requirement 2.1-2-(Quality Enhancement Plan), expects an institution to develop an acceptable Quality Enhancement Plan that includes a process for identifying key issues emerging from institutional assessment and focuses on learning outcomes and/or the environment supporting student learning and accomplishing the mission of the institution. You provided neither narration nor documentation to support the allegation that the institution does not have a Quality Enhancement Plan and does not use it in making decisions about the institution.

•  Comprehensive Standard 3.2.8 (Qualified administrative/academic officers), expects an institution to have qualified administrative and academic officers with the experience and competence to lead the institution. Although you cited this accreditation standard, you provided no documentation to support allegations of noncompliance.

•  Comprehensive Standard 3.2.10 (Administrative staff evaluations), expects an institution to periodically evaluate the effectiveness of its administrators. While you cited this accreditation standard you provided no documentation to support a suggestion of non-compliance with this accreditation standard.

•  Comprehensive Standard 3.2.13 (Institution-related entities), expects from any entity organized separately from the institution and formed primarily for the purpose of supporting the institution or its programs, the following : (1) the legal authority and operating control of the institution is clearly defined with respect to that entity and (2) the relationship of that entity to the institution and the extent of any liability arising out of that relationship is clearly described in a formal, written manner. Further, the standard expects an institution to demonstrate that (a) the

Mr. Thomas E. Burnett, Jr.

Page three

October 26, 2017

chief executive officer controls any fund-raising activities of that entity or (b) the fundraising activities of that entity are defined in a formal, written manner which assures that those activities further the mission of the institution. You provided no documentation to support your allegation of noncompliance with this standard. You might have been referring to your program for dyslexic students, however, that program is not an institution-related entity.

As per the SACS COC policy, the” Commission’s complaint procedures are for the purpose of addressing any significant non-compliance with the Commission’s standards, policies, or procedures . The procedures are not intended to be used to involve the Commission in disputes between individuals and member institutions, or cause the Commission to interpose itself as a reviewing authority in individual matters of admission, grades, granting or transfer ability of credits, application of academic policies, fees or other financial matters, disciplinary matters or other contractual rights and obligations. Nor does the Commission seek redress on an individual’s behalf. Under no circumstances does the Commission respond to, or take action on, any complaint or any allegation that contains defamatory statements. Further, the Commission will not serve as a grievance panel when the outcome of institutional grieva11ce or appeal processes is unsatisfactory to the complainant.”

Following staff review of your complaint and documents provided by you, Commission staff determined that, whether or not you have a legitimate grievance against the institution, your documentation was either insufficient to support claims of significant non-compliance with the SACS COC accreditation standards you cited, or it was unrelated to the standards. Consequently, we have concluded our review of your complaint.

Belie S. Wheelan, ,?r .D. President

SSW: pc

C: Dr. Michael T. Hoefer

 Ted Burnett: I'm an American thought leader and pioneer on the subjects of human, organizational and societal development and health. I write about the role that integrity, dignity, sanity play, as well as, on the topics of spirituality, faith, freedom, happiness, problem solving and risk taking. I produce and deliver original, world-class commentaries on business, political, social and spiritual matters to a global audience of world leaders, chief executives and key decision makers, top faculty and notables in the fields of academia, banking, business, foundations, government (including heads of state, lawmakers and governors), healthcare, media, non-profits and policy institutes. Website: