- Associated Press - Saturday, December 3, 2016

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - A stalled project to build a veterinary school at the University of Arizona faces an important hearing this month in front of an accreditation board that has raised numerous issues with the project, including funding, staffing and recruiting questions.

The American Veterinary Medical Association will convene a panel in mid-December to consider the university’s appeal of the association’s earlier findings, The Arizona Daily Star reported (https://bit.ly/2h5HGGB).

The association’s Council on Education in July rejected the university’s plan, saying it didn’t meet standards for accreditation. The council found that the school had issues with financial viability, staffing, recruiting and student access to learning opportunities.

“The council found that the school’s plan, when implemented, will not permit the school to be in compliance” with standards, a notification letter to the university said.

The university can’t proceed with plans to open the school without the association’s approval. But it also can’t give back the $8 million in state money that has already been spent renovating a proposed site for the school.

If the association rejects the university’s appeal, the project will have to be put on hold for 12 months before it can attempt to restart the accreditation process.

University President Ann Weaver Hart said she expects the appeal to be successful.

“We will demonstrate that we have addressed all of their concerns,” she said. “We are absolutely committed to earning AVMA accreditation.”

University spokesman Chris Sigurdson said the appeal is a closed-door process and that he cannot release more information about the process. “In order to protect the integrity of our appeal, we are not releasing the original submission requesting the first stage of accreditation nor the appeal document until the AVMA has made their final decision,” he said.

In general, the university’s proposal for the veterinary school has been kept under wraps. University officials denied a public-records request from the Arizona Daily Star to examine the plans.

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Information from: Arizona Daily Star, https://www.tucson.com


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