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12 Grads of Unaccredited Master's Program in Landscape Architecture File Suit Against Colorado State U.
Students Were Told Program Was Seeking MLA Accreditation, but LAAB Reports No Record of that Effort


The Coloradoan (USA Network) reports that 12 Colorado State University (CSU) graduates have filed suit against the university for not pursuing accreditation for the landscape architecture master's degree program. The program began 7 years ago.
The students suing CSU graduated with master's degrees in landscape architecture between December 2012 and May 2017. The students enrolled in the program despite it not being accredited by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board (LAAB) of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).

The lawsuit, filed March 20, demands the university pay back the tuitions and cover costs related to the litigation. Shelley Don, of Don, Galleher & Associates in Denver, is the attorney for the plaintiffs. Don said the students "were made to understand that the school was applying for accreditation, and that their role was going to be a necessary component of the accreditation."

The lawsuit alleges that CSU broke its contract with students, costing them money in tuition, in moving and living expenses, in debt assumed while pursing their degrees, in earnings, earning capacity and opportunities lost because the program never gained accreditation.

The Coloradoan said CSU officials declined to make any comment regarding the lawsuit because of the pending litigation.

The Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board (LAAB) develops and promulgates the accreditation standards, rules and procedures for conducting accreditation. LAAB, which consists of 12 members, is vested with its authority through the ASLA Board of Trustees. LAAB is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as the official accrediting body for first professional programs in landscape architecture. LAAB says its official scope of accreditation is "...first professional programs at the bachelor's or master's level."

Kristopher Pritchard, ASLA's accreditation and education programs manager, said LAAB has no record of the school ever beginning the accreditation process for the program.

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August 17, 2019, 10:58 am PDT

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