Accrediting body to investigate Pima Community College complaints

Suzanne Miles

Submitted Photo

The accrediting body for Pima Community College is sending an investigative team to Tucson early next year to examine the circumstances behind recent controversies at the school.

The Chicago-based Higher Learning Commission notified the college in a letter today it will conduct a week-long “fact-finding visit” in response to numerous complaints from citizens groups, college retirees and, most recently,from several women who say they were sexually harassed by PCC’s former chancellor.

The complaints center on the college’s spending, procurement and personnel practices and perceived mishandling of sexual harassment allegations against ex-chancellor Roy Flores, who was accused by eight current and former female employees.

Flores denied wrongdoing and PCC’s board allowed him to retire for health reasons earlier this year.

The actions of PCC’s Interim Chancellor, Suzanne Miles, will come under particular scrutiny in the commission’s investigation, the accreditor’s letter says.

That’s because several complainants have accused Miles of misleading the accreditor in an eight-page letter she sent the commission in July in response to complaints.

In the July letter, Miles downplayed problems at PCC and said the college was the victim of media bias and political maneuvering in an election year.

PCC Board Chair Scott Stewart, a staunch supporter of Miles, reacted with aplomb to news of the investigation.

“We welcome the the visit by the fact-finding team,” Stewart said in a news release.

 “The board and the college will cooperate in every way we can.”

Read more in tomorrow's Star

Senior Editor, News, Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, Az.