Academia: Gallaudet's Bad Grade

Students at Gallaudet rebelled last year over whether the appointed president was "deaf enough" to lead the nation's premier university for the deaf and hard of hearing. But while debate focused on issues of Deaf culture, the university's foundation was crumbling.

Now an academic-certification group has warned the school that its accreditation status is "fragile" and could be revoked. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education's stinging Jan. 13 letter, released last week, cites concerns over eight standards including academic integrity, low graduation rates and a lackluster response to previous inquiries. Accreditation affects major parts of university life, like federal financial aid. "Yes, we have some serious things we need to address," says university spokesperson Mercy Coogan. "But we've been slugging away at it."