From the Morning Memo:

SUNY Erie, formerly known as Erie Community College, remains on tenuous ground with its accreditation entity, according to an email sent to staff this week.

In November, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education issued the school warnings for lack of sufficient compliance on two standards – “Educational Effectiveness, Assessment and Planning” and “Resources and Institutional Improvement.”

As part of the warning process, a liaison from Middle States visited the campus last week. He not only found that a significant percentage of the academic units still need to come into compliance with the standards, but that there was sufficient concern about academic rigor to warrant consideration of issuing a third warning.

As a “repeat offender” that received a warning for some of the same issues in 2012, the liaison made clear to SUNY Erie that it could be in danger of losing its accreditation if it doesn’t get its act together.

“As our accreditation is at stake, the college is undertaking the development of new policy to address these concerns,” SUNY Erie President Dan Hocoy wrote. “At minimum, these policies will require all academic and administrative units meet both SUNY and MSCHE standards appropriate to their units.”

A day after Hocoy sent the email, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz commended the direction of the higher ed institution during his State of the County address.

Following his speech, Poloncarz made clear to reporters that the president, who started this summer, inherited the current issues and is not at fault for creating them. The county executive said he’s not overly concerned about the school’s accreditation status, but believes there is adequate indication that Hocoy is taking the matter seriously.

“I would note that the department heads need to take it seriously and so do the teachers,” he said. “Because if they’re not meeting these specific standards, they’re not giving the best education that children possibly get.”

The school and county are asking the state Legislature to restore funding for community colleges cut in the governor’s budget. SUNY Erie said it will submit a monitoring report by September, and Middle States will visit again in October.