I have long been sympathetic to the view that accrediting agencies exist to allow academic administrators and their fellow travellers on the faculty to remain comfortable with their prejudices.  Whether I am being harsh or not, the accreditors have not covered themselves with glory in the emerging Tar Heel eligibility tar pit.
The events at UNC should remind us that accreditors exercise, at once, too much and too little power. Though perfectly willing to bully schools about matters that have little to do with academic quality, our regional accrediting agencies often fail to use their authority to fulfill their primary mission of quality control.

It is clear by now that some change will be coming to UNC in the near future, and that is well and good. But if change doesn’t come to America’s broken accreditation system soon, we shouldn’t be surprised to see more scandals like this in the years to come.
The long march through the institutions has been one in which higher education has captured its regulatory bodies.  The surprise would be if no further such scandals emerge.

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