The current version of this commission’s Handbook of Accreditation includes shared governance under the first of its five “Criteria for Accreditation,” specifically, under core component 1d, which states that “the organization’s governance and administrative structures promote effective leadership and support collaborative processes that enable the organization to fulfill its mission.” The explanatory paragraphs that follow describe shared governance (without defining it) as “a long-standing attribute of most colleges and universities in the United States,” adding the qualification, “whatever the governance and administrative structures, they need to enhance the organization’s capacity to fulfill its mission.” Among the “examples of evidence” that might indicate compliance with this core component is this: “Faculty and other academic leaders share responsibility for the coherence of the curriculum and the integrity of academic processes.” Under criterion 2a (“The organization realistically prepares for a future shaped by multiple societal and economic trends”) explanatory paragraphs describe shared governance as serving “as a check and balance to ensure academic integrity.”While the North Central commission’s handbook does not employ the phrase “academic freedom” under criterion 4a (“The organization demonstrates, through the actions of its board, administrators, students, faculty, and staff, that it values a life of learning”), it does include the following “example of evidence” relevant to this bedrock concept: “The board has approved and disseminated statements supporting freedom of inquiry for the organization’s students, faculty, and staff, and honors those statements in its practices.”
3. The governing board preserves its independence from undue influence on the part of donors, elected officials, ownership interests, or other external parties when such influence would not be in the best interest of the institution.4. The governing board delegates day-to-day management of the institution to the administration and expects the faculty to oversee academic matters.
Given what we know about the role of donors in influencing this decision, it seems arguable that 2c3 has been violated. And given the apparent collusion between Wise and the board, with the express purpose of cutting the faculty out of the academic decision re: hiring him, it seems arguable that 2c4 has been violated.