SCHEV Grants VIU Six More Months with Another 'Limited' Audit

By David North on June 21, 2019

The controversial Virginia International University (VIU), an institution with a predominance of foreign students and that is related to the Gulen movement, has scraped through another decision-making process while losing its distance-learning program. Another audit, this time described as "limited", will be mounted before the end of January 2020.

These were the highlights of a consent agreement between the Virginia regulatory agency, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), and VIU, signed on June 12. VIU is in Fairfax Va. (in the D.C. suburbs), and its accrediting/licensing battles have been previously described here and here.

The consent agreement stipulates that "VIU will be granted six months from the date of this signed agreement to review systems and procedures and implement all necessary changes to ensure compliance [with state law]."

It continues, "VIU agrees to offer education exclusively in a face-to-face modality for a minimum period of three years." Its distance-learning program was criticized in a recent SCHEV report. Some years ago, VIU's PhD program was similarly shut down, while the rest of its operations, largely master's-level education, were permitted to continue.

VIU has lost about 80 percent of its student body in recent years, and at its latest commencement ceremony, I counted about 85 graduates crossing the stage. The university relates to the movement of Fethullah Gulen, a self-exiled Muslim cleric now living in rural Pennsylvania. The movement runs a number of tax-supported charter schools, mostly high schools.

In Turkish politics, Gulen was once allied with Turkey's authoritarian president, Recep Erdogan, but the latter now views him as a terrorist.