An informed source in the college administration revealed that more than one hundred students have left Ambassador College since the beginning of the fall 1977 semester and that a number dropped out at the semester break to attend local California universities-which are accredited and generally have much lower tuition costs. In the past Herbert Armstrong crowed loudly about how students forsook other colleges to attend AC. Now, however, students are forsaking AC for the accredited curriculum of Pasadena City College, California State University, U.C.L.A., and other respected institutions.
Increasingly, AC students have become upset with the hypocrisy of AC’s officials who claim they know God’s way of life but practice a life-style alien to that which they teach. Others complain about a lack of freedom to express their thoughts on even non-controversial issues and say that there is a lack of academic freedom at AC. But most of all, students are perplexed by the college administration’s fickleness in charting AC’s future. The administration claims to be actively pursuing accreditation while regularly talking of possibly closing down the Pasadena campus or moving AC to Texas-a move which would squash any chance AC has of achieving accreditation in the near future. Though it now appears that common sense may prevail and AC will probably remain in Pasadena, the faith of many a student in AC’s “infallible” leadership remains shaken.
Several students have voiced concern over President Armstrong’s stated intention “to cut more than $1 million out of the present academic budget” (sermon, December 10, 1977). Those who wish to see the college accredited were further alarmed when Ted indicated in the same sermon that he’d like to cut several faculty members who “teach various things that I do not think are necessary to get into the kingdom of God, and so therefore God’s money isn’t going to support it.” This is a blatant abridgment of academic freedom and again strongly shows Ted is not overly serious about really attaining accreditation and living up to the responsibilities that would accompany it.
In the midst of all this confusion and lack of direction, some students are apparently making their voice heard. They have formed the Ambassador College “Coalition for Student Rights.” On a flyer they passed out they called for nonmandatory forum attendance, the right to elect their own student body officers (student body officers are presently appointed by the dean), and the right to choose the clothing style and hair style of their own preference. They also voiced objections to AC administration censorship of The Portfolio (AC’s student newspaper). The flyer pointed out that the student body has no control of the student body fund-which consists of money earned by the student body for student activities. One student claimed that the student body earned about $15,000 ushering and selling programs and refreshments at the 1977 Super Bowl football game but that the students were never told where the money they earned went.
Evidently the “Coalition for Student Rights,” though remaining anonymous to avoid expulsion from AC, has sent out other flyers and attempted to contact President Garner Ted Armstrong and evangelist Ron Kelley. In a December 10, 1977, sermon, Garner Ted Armstrong mentioned that they “told Mr. Kelley that he ought to go back to Texas and shovel manure.” Ted, obviously perturbed that any student would dare challenge the authority of an AC administrator, said, “My response to that is, ‘That’s his job here, and as soon as he identifies the manure, out it goes.’ ” We just hope and pray Ron Kelley will somehow be given the ability to recognize manure when he sees it, and we recommend he start right at the top of the organization.
For years AC administrators, when confronted with a problem or student objection, have solved the problem by expelling or disciplining the person who brought the problem to their attention. We feel President Armstrong should look into the issues raised by the “Coalition for Student Rights” and work with all members of the student body to resolve the problems rather than expel more students. Wouldn’t this be the intelligent, Christian approach?