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Virginia Intermont leaders say merger possible

Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:01:21 AM CST
Updated On: Aug 22 2013 04:10:15 PM CDT

SACS notified VI Thursday that it upheld its June decision to terminate the college from its membership.

BRISTOL, Va. -

Virginia Intermont College in Bristol got some disappointing, but not unexpected, news today.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS) upheld its decision to take away VI's accreditation, despite the school's appeal.

But VI has taken steps to keep it in place, for now, as the college takes steps to move forward.

Virginia Intermont College President Dr. Clorisa Phillips, who is also a professor of Leadership and Public Service, said at a news conference Thursday afternoon that the school has been preparing for this day.

"Of course we are disappointed, it's not the decision we wanted, however, we were preparing for this decision," said Dr. Phillips.

SACS said the decision was based on Virginia Intermont College's failure to comply with core requirements concerning financial resources and financial stability.

"Where we go from here is that we begin -- within the college and outside the college, with alumni and local supporters and so on -- earnest discussions about moving VI forward," said Dr. Phillips. "More than likely, but not necessarily, more than likely this will mean merging or partnering in some fashion with another college or institution."

For now, VI has filed a complaint in federal court seeking an injunction that would allow the school to maintain accreditation while leaders work to make the necessary changes to regain its status and move forward.

President Phillips says she can't release any further details about a potential merger at this time.

School leaders say they have had some students transfer out of concern, but for the most part their retention rate remains high.