ST JOHN’S, Antigua – The American University of Antigua, AUA, has challenged the constitutionality of a US agency’s rejection of the qualifications of the School of Nursing here, which led to similar action by the state of New York.
The university filed a legal challenge in a US court last week against the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools, CGFNS, president Neil Simon has said.
That agency provides academic and licensure credentials evaluation and verification of health care professionals who have been educated and/or born outside the US.
“Just last week, we filed lawsuits against that particular agency, which means that through that process we would be able to get all the requisite books to find out what happened and ask the courts to determine as to whether or not they acted in a constitutional way in reaching their decision,” Simon explained.
He was referencing what he described as the CGFNS’ failure to deal with the matter in a transparent manner.
According to the AUA president, the agency ruled that the school was not recognised by the Government of Antigua & Barbuda, and though they provided letters indicating this is not the case, the claim was upheld.
“In the appeal process, we were not allowed to know who is on the appeal committee; we were not allowed to appear before the Appeal Committee and we did not know what they were basing their determination on, what evidence they have that may or may not have contradicted what we had,” he noted.
The School of Nursing, which began operating in 2009, was put on hold several months ago after controversy developed over claims that the programme was not approved by the Antigua & Barbuda Nursing Council, and so isn’t accredited in the state of New York. Students in the state of Florida have been able to take the exam to become nurses.
The university president expects the legal challenge to take up to three years in the courts before it is resolved.
The controversy has not swayed AUA’s plans to expand its operations here and just last week it announced plans to invest US $18 million. This followed the school’s recognition by the Medical Board of California.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)