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Salem asks state board to reverse nursing decision

SALEM, W.Va. (AP) - Salem International University is asking a state board to reverse its withdrawal of provisional approval of the school's nursing program.

Salem believes the decision stemmed from a misunderstanding, President John Luotto said in a letter sent Wednesday to the Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses.

He asked the board to schedule a special meeting or take other action to reconsider the decision, saying withdrawal of the nursing program's approval will cause irreparable injury to Salem, its nursing program and reputation, as well as to its students and graduates.

The board's office was closed Thursday for West Virginia Day, a state holiday.

Luotto said the board voted June 12 to continue provisional approval and then reversed the decision later that day after going into an executive session. Luotto said he attended the meeting, along with Salem nursing administrators Dr. Susie Wilson and Cheryl Michaels, but left after the initial vote of approval.

The board notified Salem of the decision in a June 13 letter. The board said the university didn't correct deficiencies identified in a Feb. 25 letter from the board.

The board also said Salem didn't comply with a directive to stop admissions into the program until it met state requirement, and didn't notify new students who were to begin nursing classes in April that the classes might be delayed.

Luotto said Salem complied with the directives to stop admissions and notify students.

"In fact, as a matter of deference to the Board and based on concerns of potential students, the University did not start the April 2013 cohort which had been admitted prior to the Feb. 25, 2013, letter. Stated more simply, the University was told to cease admissions, and we complied," he wrote.

Luotto said the board was aware of the other findings stated in its June 13 when it voted the previous day to continue provisional approval.

He said the only additional information available to the board was what he described as a casual conversation between Wilson and a board official. He said a comment Wilson made during this conversation about a group of students starting nursing classes in April referred to students admitted to the program in July 2012, and did not mean new students had been admitted.

"Thus, the conversation and those findings must be the basis for the drastic action of the Board in withdrawing its approval of the University's RN Program after previously voting unanimously to continue its approval," Luotto wrote.


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