Sources with knowledge of the class action suit against CNU over their BS-MD program checked in with NEST today. This is what they had to share:
It has been almost a year, and the lawsuit is still continuing for the BS/MD students. There is also some huge news that has just been made public today morning: We just received word from multiple students and the SDN community that CNUCOM has just been placed on probation status by the LCME as of this morning. They are the only medical school in the country to be on probation status as of 2022. This is massive news as the medical school now has 2-3 years to rectify this or else they may have to shut down. https://lcme.org/directory/accredited-u-s-programs/ [We are] thankful for your organization and its fight against corruption.
What does LCME's imposed "probation" status mean regarding CNU? According to LCME's website...
"an accredited medical education program is not in substantial compliance with LCME accreditation standards. Such a determination may be based on the LCME’s judgment that the areas of noncompliance have seriously compromised the quality of the medical education program, or that the program has failed to make satisfactory progress in achieving compliance after having been granted ample opportunity to do so. Although a program placed on probation retains its accredited status with all of the rights and privileges conveyed by such status, the program is subject to withdrawal of accreditation if noncompliance issues are not satisfactorily addressed by the conclusion of a period not to exceed 24 months, unless the period for achieving compliance is extended for good cause by the. Any program placed on probation must promptly notify all enrolled students, any applicants newly accepted for enrollment, and any applicants seeking enrollment of this accreditation status. Additional information is available in the LCME Rules of Procedure; see “Accreditation with Probation” and Appendix B."
It was recently made public that California Northstate University was denied full accreditation by LCME. Though this was known to them in January 2022, CNU appears to have neglected to inform the Sacramento City Council of this issue before their hospital project was approved for the Natomas area at the former Sleep Train Arena site. CNU's project was to be the hub of a new "Innovation Park" and its proponents are now scrambling for answers.
On January 31, 2022, CNU students and staff received an email from the administration, vaguely describing the situation while trying not to cause alarm. CNU wrote that they had requested a "reconsideration hearing" because the school felt that the denial was based on "misinterpretations", something that they also said after receiving a citation for violations from BPPE in 2019. The hearing was scheduled for February 17, 2022.
According to LCME, if full accreditation is denied, there are two scenarios. Only ONE of those scenarios allows the educational institution to "appeal" - and that is the worst-case scenario.
This would be when LCME "determines there are substantial noncompliance issues that cannot be resolved within a relatively limited period of time, or that a program whose provisional accreditation has been continued has failed to remedy the problems identified at the time provisional accreditation was continued. The LCME will give notice that it intends to withdraw provisional accreditation. A decision to withdraw provisional accreditation is subject to appeal."
Does CNU's reference to requesting a "hearing" really mean an LCME "appeal"? If so, they (and the Sacramento City Council) have a PR nightmare on their hands. Even more concerning, CNU students would be the ones left suffering the most.
It's been stated that efforts to repopulate Stonelake Landing will be made. What types of businesses would you like to see fill the vacant spaces?
A long-awaited return of services may be coming to Stonelake Landing, as Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen announces on Facebook that landlord California Northstate University has hired a brokerage to assist in bringing tenants to the West Elk Grove shopping center.
Having enjoyed a 60% occupancy rate in 2018 when CNU purchased the parcels, Stonelake Landing's tenancy was purposely reduced to 20% while the private for-profit college preemptively sought to make way for a 13-story hospital complex proposal. Earlier in 2020, the Elk Grove Planning Commission recognized the proposed project was located in an inappropriate location. Because of its proximity to a national wildlife refuge and it being in a 200-year floodplain, among other reasons, the Commission declined to recommend the project to the City Council, and plans were halted.
It is encouraging to see that Stonelake Landing may once again become the community resource it was intended (and initially promised) to be.
Elk Grove Citizen reporter, Lance Armstrong, has written the most recent story regarding California Northstate University's intent to build their hospital project at the Sleep Train Arena site in Natomas, and interviews a NEST representative about the move. Read the story here.
In other news, at the most recent City Council meeting, Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen stated that CNU has expressed the intent to repopulate Stonelake Landing and is allegedly actively looking for tenants to sign leases. This statement was made during council updates at the end of the meeting and can be viewed here.
CNU is moving their hospital project to the Sleeptrain Arena site in Natomas. The pharmacy school will stay put in West Elk Grove, with possible expansion for a dental school.
NEST is pleased to see this officially announced today. We will, however, remain vigilant in monitoring CNU's future plans in our community, and hope those plans include repairing the damage they've done to our small business neighbors, as well as repopulating the center with tenants that provide valuable and desirable services to residents of Elk Grove.
Here's what the City of Elk Grove had to say about it: http://www.elkgrovecity.org/city_hall/departments_divisions/public_affairs/news/statement_on_c_n_u_and_city_of_sac_announcement?fbclid=IwAR1AfrYjUkRogtSuRAAJ_jNmlkOtm1xb-pPs1IfzKscumM2Lbvfh_62EizY
As originally reported here by NEST in late 2019, a BS-MD offered by California Northstate University was wracked with inconsistencies and resulted in violations assigned by BPPE, a State agency that acts as a watchdog of private educational institutions. Over a year later, as CNU allegedly attempted to wiggle out of any wrongdoings, three CNU students who signed up for the BS-MD program (later referred to as a "pathway" instead of a "program" by CNU's legal council) have filed a lawsuit against the college, claiming that CNU defrauded the students by reneging on the promise that a spot in the medical school would be reserved for them as BS-MD participants. Instead, though all three students claim to have exceeded admission requirements, none were accepted into the medical school. The lawsuit alleges that CNU marketing materials clearly promised a seamless and fast-tracked transition between degree programs, with guaranteed admission. Each student, on average, reportedly paid roughly $33,000 each year leading up to the transition, and they now find themselves in limbo - their options for attain an MD dwindling.
Felicia Alvarez of the Sacramento Business Journal reports in detail here.
After the author of the SBJ article sought and was denied comments from CNU representatives regarding the lawsuit, the story was released on the morning of April 20, 2021. Shortly thereafter, a well-known CNU associate and proponent, President/CEO of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council, Barry Broome, took to Twitter to defend CNU and insult the reporter's professionalism and objectivity by calling the story "one-sided". (See screenshot) Broome is the same man who was a major player in trying to sneak the CNU Medical Center and wet lab proposal past citizens and send the project on a fast-track to City approval. Fortunately, in conjunction with a host of other responsible organizations and agencies, NEST was successful in shining a light on these unethical and dishonest practices, and the proposal was ultimately rejected by the Elk Grove Planning Commission in early 2021.
NEST is very saddened that the students now appear to be suffering the repercussions of CNU's bad behavior and we wish them the best in their future endeavors.
As Michael Finch II of the Sacramento Bee reports, it appears California Northstate University has hit the brakes on the pursuit of getting their hospital project approved by the Elk Grove City Council. Though it remains to be seen if this is a temporary or permanent situation, it brings a glimmer of hope to the city's west side.
Per the article, found here, CNU spokesperson Brian Holloway said, “Following last week’s action by the City of Elk Grove Planning Commission, California Northstate University is pausing activity related to the approval process for its Elk Grove hospital project in order to fully consider all options going forward.”
On February 18, 2021, the Elk Grove Planning Commission voted 3-0 to not approve the recommendation of the project to City Council.
The Elk Grove Planning Commission will be reviewing CNU's project application during their Thursday, February 18th meeting. The meeting begins at 6 pm and residents are encouraged to make public comments on the matter.
Here are the instructions to participate in or to simply view this Thursday's Planning Commission Public Hearing regarding the CNU Hospital proposal. Please share with others.
Members of the public who wish to provide written public comment can do so in advance by emailing the Planning Commission Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members of the public who wish to participate in the meeting will need to join the Zoom meeting by registering. Each individual who wishes to participate in the meeting must register separately. During the meeting, members of the public may provide comments on a particular matter using the “raise hand” feature in Zoom on a computer or mobile device. The raised hand lets the meeting secretary know that you have a comment.
As an alternative to the “raise hand” feature, registered individuals may provide comments using a landline telephone or mobile device by call[ing] into the meeting using the phone number provided in the registration confirmation email.
Register for the Zoom Meeting at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_pE1R80JmSJWsiBYcb3x1oA
In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, if you need special assistance to participate in this meeting, please contact the City’s ADA Coordinator, Jim Ramsey, at (916) 683-7111 or TTY 888-435-6092. Notification prior to the meeting will enable the City to make reasonable arrangements to ensure accessibility to this meeting.
Email Sarah Kirchgessner at email@example.com or call (916) 478-2245
Planning Division, City of Elk Grove
Additionally, you may directly email each member of the Elk Grove City Council at the addresses here.
Finally, if you haven't done so already, please make sure to sign the petition against CNU's proposed project here.
We must demand that our city leaders exercise proper planning and that they do not sacrifice the well-being of citizens and neighboring wildlife in order to dip into the deep pockets of outside special interest groups.
If they allow it to happen here, it can happen anywhere.
Last summer, California Northstate University inquired with the City about having council members disqualified from a vote on their controversial hospital proposal - councilmembers who they likely felt they could not control and who might vote against their massively disruptive project. This included Darren Suen of District 1, who has been conducting broad community outreach with his constituency. The city attorney evaluated the merit of CNU's inquiry and found there to be no conflict of interest for either Suen nor Councilmember Pat Hume of District 2. The basis of CNU's argument was that each councilmembers' wife worked for a different healthcare organization in cities other than Elk Grove. Click here to read the internal memo.
Out of an abundance of caution, the city attorney's assessment was submitted for review by the FPPC. However, the FPPC disagreed, using very weak reasoning to refute the City's recommendation. Click here to read the FPPC letter.
Now, Councilmembers Suen and Hume will be restricted from voting on this controversial project, leaving the decision up to Mayor Ly (an avid proponent of CNU), Councilwoman Stephanie Nguyen of District 4, and whomever wins the District 3 council seat in the upcoming election.
CNU is, again, disenfranchising the residents of not only District 1, but also District 2, by taking away their ability to be represented in this unprecedented controversy. The residents of Elk Grove will not be silenced by deep pockets, unscrupulous actors and outside special interest groups! Make your voice heard!