by Atoday News Team

A statement from Washington Adventist University yesterday (October 10) announced that WAU is no longer involved in plans to operate a campus in South Lancaster, Massachusetts, on the former campus of Atlantic Union College because the AUC board has voted to break off these arrangements. The agreement had been developed last year and finalized early this year with approval by the decision-making bodies of both institutions. It was the result of a decision by the New England regional accrediting body to end the accreditation of AUC due to the lack of financial sustainability.

The plan was for WAU's South Lancaster campus to begin operation this fall and take on all or most of the AUC faculty and staff, providing continued classes for all of the students enrolled there. Authorities postponed the approval of this arrangement forcing the opening to be delayed and a number of the students ended up transfering to WAU's campus in Takoma Park, Maryland. WAU had early on provided a method by which the academic credit for class taken in South Lancaster last school year was assured under WAU's accreditation in Maryland.

There is no indication at this point as to the reasons for this latest decision. It does appear that it will be difficult if not impossible for AUC to regain accreditation and continue to operate in any form. The faculty and staff were all let go on July 1 and several have already accepted jobs at other institutions, including some who are now employed at WAU.

The full statement as published by the Columbia Union Conference magazine The Visitor is republished below.

Statement: Update on WAU Branch Campus at Atlantic Union College
Published 10/10/2011

After several months of talks with Washington Adventist University (WAU) in Takoma Park, Md., to operate a branch campus at Atlantic Union College (AUC) in South Lancaster, Mass., the Board of Trustees for AUC in a meeting on Wednesday, October 5 voted to suspend any further negotiations at this time after the institutions were unable to reach an operating agreement.

The talks with WAU began when AUC was informed by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges that its accreditation would be discontinued for financial reasons.

AUC and its constituents will now look at other ways to maintain the mission of Seventh-day Adventist Christian higher education in the Atlantic Union Conference territory, which includes the New England states, New York and the island of Bermuda.

Washington Adventist University will continue to honor the arrangements in place that have facilitated the smooth transition of the former AUC students enrolled at the university. Both institutions remain committed to providing Adventist Christian higher education to their students.

WAU wishes AUC well in its efforts to continue to provide an Adventist Christian higher education in the Atlantic Union Conference.