August 14, 2017: A Change.org petition titled “End Atlantic Union College’s Scam” was posted on the online platform on Saturday.
The petition was created by an unnamed Atlantic Union College student who says she is “one of the few girls who attend this school.”
The student claimed she did not identify herself “because if I do the school will treat me really bad.”
She said that she feels the school has “scammed” students by its lack of transparency about challenges it is facing which has put students at risk.
One of the issues she claimed is being kept quiet is a report on the school she believes is being prepared by the North American Division and the Adventist Accrediting Association.
She believes that if AUC is not approved by the report, funding will end and students will be unable to transfer and finish their studies at another school.
A major funding hurdle presented by the Southern New England Conference and reported by Adventist Today was also mentioned in the petition. In April, the conference voted to withdraw the $800,000 in annual funding that it sends to AUC.
The student went one step further by saying that the funding had already been withdrawn. She added that there are rumors that further conferences will withdraw their funding from the school as well. She claimed that the school will not be accredited without proper funding.
The petition’s author claimed that most students at the institution, along with herself, are trying to leave. She said that she is in too difficult a financial situation to depart the school after having spent a lot of time and money at the school.
The student also addressed the low enrollment at AUC. She shares her understanding that the school will need at least 50 students to have permission to stay open from the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education. She claimed that the school will not have enough students to satisfy the minimum.
In addition, she critiqued certificates offered to students by AUC saying that many can be completed online for a lot less money. She claimed that some students are taking classes that they mistakenly think will result in college credit.
The student addressed a number of supposed untruths disseminated by the institution, ranging from a promised shuttle service for students that was allegedly not provided, to claims the school exaggerated the size of the student population to prospective students.
She claimed that the worst untruth was that the institution would be accredited by 2017. AUC is not currently accredited.
The student also addressed a supposed failed attempt by AUC to gain accreditation by a body called the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS.) She claimed that the federal government withdrew the authority of the body to provide accreditation.
The petition calls for the Atlantic Union Conference to address the school’s challenges or simply close it.
The student urged the Atlantic Union to facilitate student transfers to “better Adventist schools” by offering scholarships using the funding that is currently being sent to AUC.
“It’s almost evil to have students in there as test dummies for their experiment and offer no way out,” reads the petition.
The petition was delivered to the following entities:
- North American Division of Seventh Day Adventists
- Atlantic Union Conference
- Massachusetts Department of Higher Education
- Atlantic Union College
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- Accrediting Association of Seventh-day Adventist Schools
Winona Winkler Wendth, whose spouse, Norman Wendth was president of AUC when the institution closed in 2011, weighed in on the Change.org petition.
Wendth suggests that the Atlantic Union Conference and most of the conferences have been insular and isolationist in their views—including their vision of the college—and have forgotten about their responsibilities to the outside world—even to the “outside” of their conferences in their own church.
“This posting… is a good example of that… whether this young woman reported some inaccuracies or not, is off the point: What is on point is that no Adventist institution is operating in a windowless closet, socially, or professionally.”