Luna Community College’s probationary status has been lifted by the Higher Learning Commission after demonstrating full compliance with all requirements for accreditation.

The Las Vegas, N.M., college operated under sanctions since the summer of 2018 when the Chicago-based regional accrediting agency, which oversees colleges and universities in 19 states, handed down its probation after a show-cause order in November 2017.

The actions stemmed, in part, from a 2016 audit by the New Mexico Higher Education Department that found nepotism and favoritism in hiring, nearly a quarter-million dollars’ worth of missing equipment, board meetings full of “rancor, dissension and unprofessional behavior” and a top official falsifying his résumé to get a job.

The commission considered stripping the school’s accreditation, which could have led to the loss of federal tuition assistance and the ability to transfer credits to other colleges or universities.

In an action letter, commission President Barbara Gellman-Danley wrote that the commission’s board found that the college operates “with integrity in its financial, academic, personnel, and auxiliary functions.”

The letter also stated that Luna’s board members are “autonomous to make decisions in the best interest of the institution and to assure its integrity,” in response to past concerns that board members influenced or affected employees’ performance.

“We want to thank the Higher Learning Commission for helping make us a better college,” said Kenneth Patterson, Luna’s interim president. “Because of the HLC and the standards established, our college has a better foundation.”

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