WASC Responds to La Sierra University Problems
by Atoday News Team
In a letter dated, July 5, just released by La Sierra University (LSU), the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the academic Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges & Universities in the Western United States, reported on the commission’s consideration of a report of its Special Visit team.
In part, the letter noted the following:
The Special Visit “came in the midst of a contentious public controversy over this matter [relating to the teaching of both evolutionary biology and creationism at LSU] between LSU and the Seventh-day Adventist Church, with which La Sierra University is affiliated.”
“The goal of the Special Visit was to determine whether LSU was addressing this challenge in keeping with generally accepted principles of higher education related to institutional autonomy, academic freedom, and the appropriate roles of the faculty, administration and governing board.”
“The Special Visit team was concerned about the structure and functioning of the governing board” It noted that “there were divisions on the board concerning the controversy in the teaching of science.”
WASC noted that “the recent forced resignations, which were obtained through the actions of the board chair, reinforce concerns about institutional autonomy because of the multiple roles that the board chair has in the University and in the Church.”
As the result of “deep concerns about the institutional autonomy of La Sierra University as an educational institution,” WASC acted to issue a formal Notice of Concern.