Flawed Article on University of Arizona Global Campus

January 26, 2022
 
 

To the Editor:

To suggest Suzanne Smalley’s recent piece about University of Arizona Global Campus (UAGC) fits under the header of “News” is highly questionable and does a disservice to readers. Smalley takes so many editorial swings at her subject that at the very least, it should have been posted under “Opinion.” The liberties she takes with the facts speak to why readers distrust so much of what they read and hear. It’s in that vein that I write today: to correct the record and provide some context.

Beginning with the headline, “Arizona Global’s Struggles Grow as Lawsuit and Accreditor Outcomes Loom," the implication is that University of Arizona Global Campus is party to the lawsuit referenced later in the piece. It is not.

Derogatory phrases like “checkered history” and vague claims like “a relatively small number” of students graduated are sprinkled throughout without explanation, context or comparison to other similarly sized and situated entities. In particular, the writer negatively references Ashford University, which was acquired by the University of Arizona Global Campus, and Ashford’s former parent company Zovio, yet neither has ever been found guilty of wrongdoing in a court of law.

The kicker is a quote included from a nationally recognized opponent of proprietary institutions of higher education, who any writer can count on to offer a disparaging quote about institutions based on their tax status without care or concern for the students they serve, the challenges they face, and, despite all, the outcomes they achieve.

The accusatory tone of the piece and the lack of context are deeply disturbing and misleading. I expected better from Inside Higher Ed, especially since I spoke with the reporter on the record and provided considerable information about Ashford University, Zovio and transcripts from the trial in California – substantive and updated details which clearly landed on the cutting room floor. Your readers deserve to have all relevant facts and perspectives.

--Vickie L. Schray
Executive Vice President, Chief External Affairs Officer

Zovio

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