The Master’s University remains on probation, lays off facultyMai Nguyen Do March 18, 2019 1 COMMENT
The Master’s University and Seminary will remain on accreditation probation and will receive another special visit review from accreditation officials in 2020.
Last year, the Western Association of Schools and College’s Senior College and University Commission placed the school on probation last year due to a “pervasive culture and climate of fear, intimidation, bullying, and uncertainty among significant numbers of faculty and staff” and issues with transparency, according to the commission’s report.
The local university has struggled with a number of controversies over the past few years, such as being put on probation and being fined for failure to comply with the Clery Act, a federal law which mandates that schools report sexual assaults that occur within campus communities. The university also recently began to lay off several faculty members, including audio technology adjunct professor John Martin, philosophy and apologetics professor Brian Morley and the university president’s assistant, Sharon Staats.
In a letter dated March 4, the accreditation commission’s president, Janienne Studley, explained that the university will remain on probation because of continued concerns about operational integrity, with fears from staff “that the climate may regress after WSCUC stepped away.”
Studley also expressed the commission’s concerns about how much independence the school’s board of directors is afforded.
“The Commission observes that the Board continues to take direction from the President rather than fulfilling its role of overseeing the President and maintaining priorities that are consistent with advancing the institutional mission,” Studley said.
The commission’s concerns about the university’s board also included ongoing worries about the school’s operations.
“The institution made a commitment to transition its chief executive officer from the position of president to Chancellor of the Seminary within 18 months of the date of the visit,” Studley said. “Yet, at the panel interview, the president mentioned that the Board has extended that date and had still not taken steps to define the requirements and job description for the institution’s next president.”
In response to the commission’s letter and decision to schedule a special visit next year, The Master’s University’s president, John MacArthur, released a public statement on Thursday assuring the community of the school’s stability and integrity.
“I will continue to serve as President as long as the board desires,” MacArthur said in his statement. “Both the University and Seminary are in a strong position for the future because the Board, the staff, administration and faculty are exceptional — and our students and alumni love their school.”
The Master’s University did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
Mai Nguyen Do is a Vietnamese American poet and researcher. She is a lifelong Santa Clarita resident and a College of the Canyons graduate. She is also the author of Ghosts Still Walking (2016) and Battlefield Blooming (2019). Find her on Twitter @DoNguyenMai.