RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A higher education nonprofit representing trustees and alumni is seeking an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education into an accreditation agency's decision to put the University of Virginia on warning for its failed attempt to fire its president last summer.

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni contends the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' Commission on Colleges had no basis for issuing the warning and overstepped its role as an accrediting agency when it put U.Va. on warning Dec. 11 for its messy bid to oust President Teresa Sullivan.

The U.Va. warning was issued Dec. 11 by the accreditation agency based on governance issues.

The accrediting commission did not immediately respond to telephone messages and emails from The Associated Press.