Months after hearing, no decision on Wilson College

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Dec 1, 2014 4:09 AM

Photo by Ben Allen/witf

(Harrisburg) -- More than five months have passed since the state Department of Education heard arguments over Wilson College's decision to go co-ed, yet no decision has been made, despite an August 1 deadline for documents in the case.

The nearly day-long hearing June 16th featured testimony in front of a panel of three Department of Education staffers.

The dispute centers around whether Wilson College in Franklin County can admit male undergraduate residential students.

Jill Hans led the proceedings, but she left the department for a job at Messiah College.

Spokesman Tim Eller says the newest acting deputy secretary for post secondary and higher education, Terry Barnaby, is getting a crash course in the case.

"The individual who took over as Acting Deputy of Higher Ed. is completing that process and actually getting up to speed on what the issues were and moving that recommendation forward. The sole delay, if you will, is attributed to the new individual getting up to speed on that," he says.

Eller says a decision could be coming in the next couple of weeks, but notes it may not be issued before Governor-elect Tom Wolf takes office January 20th.

"The record of the hearing that was held, the information that was presented, the issue overall understanding from a to z, on what the hearing was about, what the issues about so that when the Deputy Secretary makes a recommendation to the Secretary, she's fully informed," he adds.

A group of women from the formerly all-women's college argues admitting men is a violation of its charter, while Wilson is going ahead with its plan.

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