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SECTION 1: THE PRINCIPLE OF INTEGRITY

Integrity, essential to the purpose of higher education, functions as the basic contract defining the relationship between the Commission and each of its member and candidate institutions. It is a relationship in which all parties agree to deal honestly and openly with their constituencies and with one another. Without this commitment, no relationship can exist or be sustained between the Commission and its member and candidate institutions.

Integrity in the accreditation process is best understood in the context of peer review, professional judgment by peers of commonly accepted sound academic practice, and the conscientious application of the Principles of Accreditation as mutually agreed upon standards for accreditation. The Commission’s requirements, policies, processes, procedures, and decisions are predicated on integrity.

The Commission on Colleges expects integrity to govern the operation of institutions and for institutions to make reasonable and responsible decisions consistent with the spirit of integrity in all matters. Therefore, evidence of withholding information, providing inaccurate information to the public, failing to provide timely and accurate information to the Commission, or failing to conduct a candid self-assessment of compliance with the Principles of Accreditation and to submit this assessment to the Commission, and other similar practices will be seen as the lack of a full commitment to integrity. The Commission’s policy statement “Integrity and Accuracy in Institutional Representation” gives examples of the application of the principle of integrity in accreditation activities. The policy is not all-encompassing nor does it address all possible situations. (See Commission policy “Integrity and Accuracy in Institutional Representation.”) Failure of an institution to adhere to the integrity principle may result in a loss of accreditation or candidacy.

Source: PRINCIPLES OF ACCREDITATION: FOUNDATIONS FOR QUALITY ENHANCEMENT