ACCREDITATION OR BUST!
(the wooing of WA.S.C.)
When Ambassador College opened its doors in 1947, it was housed in a single building (now the College library facility) and boasted four students and seventeen instructors. From these fledgling beginnings it has grown to its present enrollment of 690 full-time students and 180 supporting faculty and instructors. For 29 years the College has conferred unaccredited degrees upon its graduates. This lack of accreditation did not present a problem in the College's early years because, for the most part, A.C. was the training ground for the ministry and other positions in the Worldwide (then Radio) Church of God and the College itself. Those graduating from Ambassador College were absorbed into "the Work of God". For over twenty years this was the central reason for the College's existence-to be the "West Point of 'the work'
By the last 1960's a new trend was developing. The Church's economic growth had plateaued, and the institution could no longer guarantee jobs to all its graduates. Today only a few graduates from Ambassador College expect to be employed within the Church-College-Ambassador International Cultural Foundation (AICF) complex. These developments apparently forced the administration to re-evaluate A.C.'s academic position, especially in light of future enrollment. Through what seems to be only a subtle evolution, Ambassador College has changed from a ministerial training school to a church-oriented (nondenominational), liberal arts institution claiming a free and open learning environment.
A.C.'s first two attempts to become accredited (in 1967 and again in 1970) were met with stout criticism from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (W.A.S.C.) and accreditation was denied in both cases. After much self-evaluation, Ambassador College again applied for accreditation in 1974. This attempt was met with less severe criticism, and W.A.S.C. granted A.C. candidacy for possible accreditation in 1976 with the clear stipulation that certain specific criteria be met.
From all outward signs it would appear that Ambassador College is finally seeking accreditation in earnest. Under the direction of Dr. Michael P. Germano, the members of the Accreditation Steering Committee have been able to make some very encouraging, although limited, progress towards meeting the standards set by W.A.S.C. Dr. Germano and his team have made significant inroads into improving those areas in which they had authority to restructure (e.g., Faculty credentials, curriculum, library). However, the main areas in which W.A.S.C. has prescribed recommendations for restructure are in areas in which Dr. Germano and his administration had no authority to make changes. In these areas only the Board of Trustees has the authority to make changes. Because of the Board's reluctance to act upon authority recommendations and the Armstrongs' demagogic reactions to recent challenges to their absolute authority, it is essential that Ambassador's courtship with accreditation be evaluated in its proper perspective. If the College remains satisfied with the status quo there is little possibility that it can receive full accreditation.
In a recent sermon Herbert W. Armstrong, Chancellor of Ambassador College, stated that, "The way has been cleared for the accreditation of Ambassador College.'' (sermon, Ambassador Auditorium, March 6, 1976). By this statement it would seem that no obstacles stand in the way of Ambassador receiving full accreditation, and only the formality of citation remains to finalize the process. President Garner Ted Armstrong has also expressed confidence that the College will receive accreditation: "We're pursuing accreditation and we're going to get it. And we're going to get accreditation not on the basis of changing inviolable principles upon which we shall always stand-we're going to get accreditation based upon the fact that we are a worthy institution with a top-notch faculty, with a great administration, and with a great student body by and large-
with the exception of a few tiny soreheads here and there that don't know what in the world they are doing yet, that are just a bunch of kids who need to grow up." (Bible Study, February 27, 1976). Both Herbert and Ted should be lauded for their optimism, especially in the wake of recent developments.
In a thinly-veiled memorandum dated February 26, 1976, Garner Ted Armstrong lamely "explained" to the faculty of Ambassador College that Dr. Germano's title "...'Executive Vice-President' was a stop-gap measure, intending to reflect his function as my chief academic advisor and assistant, and the individual who, on a day to day basis, was involved in the conduct of administrative affairs. I had explained Dr. Germano's function in this capacity during the visit of the team from the Western Association, and we were granted candidacy while Dr. Germano carried the title of Dean." President Armstrong further explained that he fully intends to become more involved in faculty and student activities, "...thus remaining very much an active president, and not an ,absentee'."
He stated that Dr. Germano had been re-appointed to the office of Dean of Faculties, as well as chief academic advisor. The memo also stated that Dr. Carruthers would be retained as Associate Dean of the Faculties, and Ray Wright was designated as permanent Business Manager for the College. According to President Armstrong, "These alterations in title...will help clear up at least some measure of existing confusion concerning administrative functions...." One may question, however, whether President Armstrong was really acting in the best interest of accreditation and if he were really clearing up confusion concerning administrative functions. This memo is only one example of the inconsistent language often issued from the President's office.
To lend some background to the above situation, one should consider the events surrounding Dr. Germano's change in title. In late January-early February students received bulk mailings of literature critical of administration policies. The literature was immediately labeled "slanderous" and "anti-Ambassador" and obviously caused significant trauma to the administration. In order to quell any disturbance that might ensue from the distribution of this material, a memo entitled "CONSENT TO COLLEGE MAIL PROCEDURE" was issued demanding that the students sign a statement of approval of mail censorship. (Although the College has received other "slanderous"-"anti-Ambassador" material in the past, this specific incident occurred as a result of the administration's reaction to the letter introducing AMBASSADOR REVIEW.)
In an attempt to cover their tracks, the authors of this college memo attributed "authorship" to Fred Gilreath, an unfortunate underling in the Office of Communication Services. Mr. Gilreath, however, has denied any knowledge of the memo's existence prior to its official distribution. Instead of quelling a disturbance, the memo created one. An estimated 30-40% of the students refused to give their approval to censorship. This certainly was not your usual tail-between-the-legs A.C. Student Body reaction. The students refused to be harassed as in the past. Helge and Rader sought reasons for this insubordination. It seems that these legal advisors convinced the President that this "rebellion" by the student body had grown out of the environment which had been nurtured by Dr. Germano's administration. So, the President tacitly demoted Dr. Germano.
Upon closer scrutiny of Dr. Germano's demotion, it can be discerned that the changes are more than titular. In the course of searching for information on accreditation, AMBASSADOR REVIEW contacted Dr. Germano's office regarding Ambassador College's Self-Study, the W.A.S.C. Handbook for Accreditation, and other related documents. Oddly enough, Dr. Germano's office has not retained jurisdiction over matters regarding accreditation. According to his secretary, this information is now being handled directly by Mr. Stanley Rader. However, when the matter was discussed with Mrs. Upton, Mr. Rader's personal secretary, she was unaware of the whereabouts of this
material in Mr. Rader's files.
Dr. Germano's demotion from the helm of the accreditation process should cause great concern within the academic community of the College. Virtually all the painstaking work of restructuring the College to meet the high standards set by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges was done under the direction of Dr. Germano-usually while President Garner Ted Armstrong was away, "busy" in other areas of "the Work". President Armstrong's lack of concern in "vigorously pursuing accreditation" is demonstrated by the fact that he was only able to stay in town the first day the visiting committee was in Pasadena and then was "forced" to leave because of his "busy pre-planned schedule", although the dates of the visit had been known at least six months in advance. Chancellor Herbert Armstrong was so "vigorously" involved in other endeavors that he was not even present at the Pasadena campus during the W.A.S.C. visit.
The W.A.S.C. visiting committee, realizing that Dr. Germano was the man responsible for the intensive self-scrutiny, noted in their report: "The total effort (i.e., the self-study, evaluation, etc.) was under the direction of a Steering Committee headed by an able and highly respected Dean of the College (i.e., Dean of the Faculty).... Substantial and productive institutional activity had taken place...." (Report of the Evaluation Committee of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges to Ambassador College, October 23, 24, 25, 1974, pp. 1-2). Thus it seems that Ambassador received candidacy in 1974 in spite of President Garner Ted Armstrong and Chancellor Herbert W. Armstrong.
It was in those areas over which Dr. Germano had no authority that W.A.S.C. directed the bulk of its recommendations. It is instructive to look at those areas in which the administration continues to stall substantive changes. Five areas will be examined in detail: administrative structure, the Board of Trustees, academic freedom, library facilities and financial independence and stability.
I. ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE
W.A.S.C. called for "A revised administrative structure (which) should make provision for a full-time President, chief executive officer for the College who would not be Chairman or Vice-Chairman of the Board.... Such an administrative model, when properly instituted by the Board of Trustees, would reduce the possibility of problems related to conflicts of interest and would help to provide the physical autonomy so essential to the successful operation of a educational institution."
What improvement has the college made in the area? Absolutely none! As of this writing, President Armstrong is still the "Madhatter" of titles, changing hats between President, Vice-Chancellor and Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees. His recent action to demote Dr. Germano, in view of W.A.S.C.'s recommendations is a definite advance to the rear. Ted Armstrong would like to foster the belief that since he was President of the College when it received candidacy, it can easily become fully accredited with him in this position. It cannot be stressed enough that Ambassador College did not receive candidacy because of President Armstrong but in spite of him. His only realistic claim to the office of President of Ambassador College is that he happens to be Chancellor Herbert Armstrong's glib-speaking son.
Garner Ted Armstrong has no academic credentials whatsoever that would qualify him for that office. One can find his "credentials" listed in the new 1976-77 Big Sandy CATALOG: "Garner Ted Armstrong, Professor of Theology and Sociology, B.A. (1956), Ambassador College; M.A. (1960), Ambassador College; Ph.D. (1965), Ambassador College." This type of academic hocus-pocus unfortunately is accepted without question at A.C. "Dr." Herbert Armstrong, himself a high school dropout who never attended college, has only an honorary "doctorate" from the "prestigious" Angeles University of the Philippines. Herbert's assistant, Osamo Gotoh, was granted a full Professorship by A.C. after he had falsified his transcripts from Japan and flunked out of Ambassador College.
Even if President Ted Armstrong's incredible academic deficiencies were nonexistent, he would still be unable to fill the position of President of Ambassador College because of the many demands placed upon his time-both real and contrived. There is a major conflict of interest in that he has so many "interests" that the time he has to devote to each is minimal. He claims to "be very much an active President" because he intends to be at more Student Body Forums and sing-a-longs; and yet President Armstrong distains the responsibilities in which a college president must, of necessity, be engaged: "My time is ladden with a lot of unessential executive-type responsibilities, when it should be almost 100% devoted to preaching the gospel of the kingdom as a witness to the world-instead of being burdened with a lot of paper shuffling and telephone answering and problem-solving." (Garner Ted Armstrong, "State of the Work" Speech, March 17, 1976). President Armstrong has neither the qualifications, the time nor the inclination to devote to the position of President of Ambassador College. It is time that the Board of Trustees realizes that the President of Ambassador cannot be President in title only but must be able to devote his full-time energies toward that position. A more stable academic environment would ensue and the accreditation of A.C. would most assuredly be viewed more favorably by W.A.S.C.
It seems that President Armstrong would have been wiser had he promoted Dr. Germano to the position of President of Ambassador College and given him the full authority to execute that office rather than "re-appointing" him to the position of Dean of the Faculty.
II. STACKED BOARD OF TRUSTEES
When W.A.S.C. conducted their study of Ambassador College in the fall of 1974, they strongly suggested that the then seven member Board of Trustees "...should be enlarged and should provide for a greater 'mix'." The Evaluation Committee then defined what it meant by "a greater 'mix'":
"The examiners feel that there should be more of a 'mix' in Board composition, even to the extent of allowing, non-Worldwide Church of God representation.... The possible revision of the present administration structure to provide for a full-time President of the College as chief executive officer of the institution, who is neither chairman nor vice-chairman of the Board of Trustees... merits consideration. Such an administrative model, when properly instituted by the Board of Trustees, would reduce the possibility of problems related to conflicts of interest and would help to provide and maintain a campus climate where academic freedom prevails, but it is essential that continued attention be given this vital area." (W.A.S.C. Report, 1974)
The Board of Trustees for the Pasadena campus has been enlarged from a seven to a fifteen member Board, but the complexion of the Board remains very much the same. None of the changes in Board size or membership substantially alter the political composition of the Board from its 1974 makeup. By their refusal to change the complexion of the Board of Trustees, the Armstrongs are clearly thumbing their noses at W.A.S.C. and are jeopardizing the College's already tenuous academic position.
It must be pointed out, however, that although the current members of the Board of Trustees have been hand-picked by Herbert W. Armstrong, Garner Ted Armstrong, and Stanley R. Rader, they do not have to bow to the whims of the powerful triumvirate. Legally, the structure for assuring accreditation already exists, if those legal rights were only exercised. If those on the Board are truly desireous of accreditation for Ambassador College they must realize their responsibility in the matter and exercise their authority as it exists under law-even to the point of voting Rader and the Armstrongs off the Board if they continue to stand in the way of the accreditation process.
If this charade does not stop, the eventual result will be the loss of administrators, faculty members and students.
Ambassador College, Pasadena Campus (1976) Board of Trustees
Herbert W. Armstrong, Chairman and Chancellor
Garner Ted Armstrong, Vice-Chairman and President
Stanley Rader, Secretary and Treasurer
Shirley Armstrong (Mrs. Garner Ted Armstrong)
Benjamin Chapman (Armstrong relative)
Robert L. Kuhn (Administrative Assistant to Garner Ted Armstrong)
Dibar Apartian (Evangelist)
C. Wayne Cole (Evangelist)
Ronald Dart (Evangelist)
Herman Hoeh (Evangelist)
Leslie McCullough (Evangelist)
Harold Jackson (Pastor and only non-white member on Board)
Lucy Martin (only non-church member on Board)
(Editor: The Worldwide Church of God has refused to make the current membership of the church Board of Trustees available to AMBASSADOR REVIEW.)
Ambassador College (October 1974) Board of Trustees
Herbert W. Armstrong, Chairman
Garner Ted Armstrong
Shirley Armstrong (Mrs. Garner Ted Armstrong)
Worldwide Church of God (October 1974) Board of Trustees
Herbert W. Armstrong, Chairman
Garner Ted Armstrong
Shirley Armstrong (Mrs. Garner Ted Armstrong)
David J. Hill
Raymond F. McNair
III. ACADEMIC FREEDOM
The area of academic freedom has also generated considerable comment by the Armstrongs, Stanley Rader and Ralph Helge.
On this subject W.A.S.C. also made some very poignant statements: "A clear policy statement on academic freedom and tenure is essential.... Many faculty members indicated that academic freedom and tenure do exist and have existed for many years. On the other hand, some faculty expressed reservations about the delay in the policy statement recommended a few years ago, and about the actual existence of academic freedom, particularly in those areas where course content might border upon or involve discussion of theological doctrine or church policy. A clear policy statement emanating from the Trustees seems overdue."
To date, there has been no "clear policy statement on academic freedom and tenure emanating from the Trustees..." Such a clear policy statement could only weaken the ideological control now wielded by the triumvirate. It comes as no surprise that they have refrained from initiating any positive action in this regard.
Negative action towards such a clear policy statement was taken, however. College and church attorney, Ralph Helge, frightened by such a prospective Armstrong power loss, drafted one or two "briefs" outlining the "dire" ramifications which a clear policy statement on academic freedom and tenure could have on Armstrongian authority. This brief(s) was so top secret that it was delivered only to a select few, allowed to be read but not copied. All copies were then collected. Because of this top secrecy, it has been impossible to determine the exact contents of the brief(s).
In answer to all of this, President Armstrong has piously thundered, "We DO believe in freedom of speech and freedom of religion and freedom of the press at Ambassador College!"
But what does President Armstrong mean by such platitudes? One of the more clear, yet embarrassing, explanations came from his own lips in a sermon in the Ambassador Auditorium on December 7, 1974. The situation he was commenting upon was a sincere invitation by Ken Long (an Australian student) to President Armstrong to come to his dorm for a get-acquainted rap session with the students:
"...I had a fellow that tried to come to me to get me involved in some big dormatory meetinig. And he wanted to -he said, 'So we can get to know ya better.' Uh-ha-ha! Oh-h-h-h what a lie that was! Oh-h, it was funny.... I found out later that he's been going over to listen to Ernest Martin. And he wants to attend his lectures-he kinda buys a lotta that stuff.-Against the Holy Days, he doesn't really think we oughta be keep'n the Holy Days apparently.... See, he didn't really want me over there to get to know me better. He wanted me over there to put me on the spot, to ask me a lotta questions-to make me vindicate the Holy Days. Now if he's sitt'n in here today-whoever you are, fella-do me the favor, don't come up to my office. 'Cause I just do not like to kick people out of my office. I mean, I just do not like to do it-it's bad news, you know. People give me a bad reputation for doing things like that. But, I've-I've got an awfully short temper where trickery and deceit and hypocrisy are concerned.... If he's honest, then I don't think I'm going to have any problem with it at all.- But that type of thing. I guess he honestly wants to know, 'Can I stay around here and enjoy the environment and enjoy the College and enjoy the students, and still go over and listen to somebody else's lectures." My answer-Sure you can!-As long as you keep your mouth shut and don't try to proselyte, and don't tell other people what you think you believe, or try to convince 'em to believe your way. Because if you do that, then I'm going to bounce you out of here like a half-inflated baskethall, buddy! Now, if you want to keep your mouth shut about it, then that's fine. I would allow a Communist to come to Ambassador College and sit in the classroom and listen, and, hopefully be taught. But he's not going to be allowed to preach Communism.... It wouldn't matter from what race, what nation, from what political point of view, we accept Catholics, Muslims. Buddhists-anybody from any point of view. But they don't come here to teach Catholicism or Buddhism. They come here to learn. They come here to open up their minds and to challenge the textbook, and to wonder whether or not the professor is right, and to prove and to check out, and to prove all things to themselves and to hold fast to that which is true. But not to proselyte. Let me give you fellas and girls a guarantee about Ambassador College-we will not allow on the College, people to come here from the military services to deliberately try to proselyte and get you to go join the Marines and the Army and the Navy. We don't have to do that; the government doesn't make us do that so we can guarantee that you aren't going to be coerced and forced to try to run off and join the military service. We won't let members of Satan's organizations-any church you wanna mention.... Now we won't let them come on Ambassador College campus and just enjoy it here and go to the classes and tell you what a great church that is. We are really narrow-minded about that. But if any of those people wanted to come here and go to class and listen to what we've got, and just keep his mouth shut-not to try to proselyte and teach other people-well, come on! That's fine! The Church and College are two separate things; we've got to realize that, they really are."
It is blatantly obvious that Ted does not, in fact recognize the Church and the College as two separate entities and that the College can no longer exist for the sole purpose of Church indoctrination. The educational nature of a legitimate College prevents that.
Chancellor Herbert Armstrong further demonstrated that an attitude of genuine self-criticism is not cherished or welcomed at Ambassador College:
"Now it you doubt you're damned! And there are people trying to put doubts in your mind right now! They call it 'questions'. 'We've got the answer to these questions. I'll tell you here are these questions!' and, 'We're not answering these questions!' Brethren, that is SATAN speaking!! Saying 'questions' means DOUBTS!!... They plant doubts. They're going around saying, 'The people have questions.'... But the only questions are the ones these dissenters are planting in their minds. What about it? Are you going to let them plant questions in your mind?" (Herbert Armstrong, Sermon, Ambassador Auditorium, January 10, 1976)
In the "Report on Visit to Ambassador College-April 2, 1970" the W.A.S.C. Commission stated very clearly exactly why the above philosophy -which to this day remains the Armstrong's guiding "light "-cannot be allowed to have an ideological stranglehold on a legitimate educational institution:
"...The basis of 'truth' for Ambassador and its faculty is whether or not facts, information, or ideas agree with their Biblical interpretation.... Science has 'advanced' by constant self-criticism. Such a direction does not seem to be open for Ambassador faculty, however. This borders on academic dishonesty.... Whether what it is doing is a part of the spectrum of higher education in California or in the nation is a much more difficult determination to make. In some areas of the institution, what goes on is not unlike what goes on in many other institutions that call themselves colleges. In other areas it would be a stretch of the facts to refer to what is happening as traditional higher education. It is in those latter areas that the College appears to have no inclination to make changes, because the changes run counter to the stated philosophy and purposes of the institution."
Again, on January 27, 1971, in their "Letter of Denial of Accreditation to Ambassador College", the Commission re-emphasized the absolute necessity for the existence of the reality of academic freedom within the College:
"While the July 15 report states that faculty members are 'expected to question and reevaluate the areas of their competence and of knowledge in general,' the Commission sees such questioning almost exclusively within the parameters of the Ambassador philosophy. The impact of this was noted on the natural and social sciences.... While other church-related educational institutions accredited by this Commission share Ambassador's concern for the development of character, they have been able to establish an acceptable balance between indoctrination and education."
Because of this demonstrable fear of academic freedom, it follows that the idea of forging a clear policy which would offer tenure to faculty members can only be anathema to the Armstrong personality. It has been a long-standing practice by both Armstrongs to terminate any faculty members whom they feel constitute a "threat" to their authority. Recently two members of the Ambassador College Faculty-Gary Prather (Assistant Professor of Music) and Olin Degge (Assistant Professor of Sociology)-have been the hapless victims of the Armstrong paranoia. Because Mr. Prather refused to attend Church services any longer, he was threatened with termination. However, to date he has successfully intimidated the Administration over the issue of religious freedom as protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution and has maintained his appointment.
Olin Degge's case was not such a clear-cut instance of religious discrimination, and he was not so fortunate in retaining his appointment. When contacted, Mr. Degge declined to grant an interview, stating that he felt that his contractual obligation to the College made it necessary for him, to pursue and exhaust certain informal and/or formal channels of appeal within the institution before he could even consider such an interview. He also refused to divulge the name of the Administrator who terminated him, but he did make a brief statement regarding the reasons for his termination:
"I only feel at liberty to share with you the very obscure reasons I was given. I was told that an irreversible decision had been made to not renew my contract for the 1976-77 school year due to the fact that I had an extreme 'credibility problem' at high Administrative levels-where I am perceived to have a very independent, complex personality and be 'difficult' to get to know, with a 'makeup' supposedly 'difficult to determine'. I was informed that this had nothing to do with my teaching ability or record-which had not even been consulted. I have my own theories about the reasons for my 'extreme credibility problem', but I don't feel I am at liberty to elaborate at this point in time."
These examples, again, demonstrate that the present Administration at "higher levels" is not interested in following those guidelines set forth either by themselves or by W.A.S.C. The Rader/Armstrong power structure seems bent on playing Russian Roulette with Ambassador College's future accreditation.
IV. LIBRARY FACILITIES
A small, but vital, point was made by W.A.S.C. in regard to the College library collection: "The library needs strengthening, both in terms of numbers of holdings and the quality and distribution of titles." Dr. Richard Walther, Director of Library Services, has made valiant efforts to meet these recommendations on little more than a shoestring budget. It seems that in preparation for next year's visit by W.A.S.C. the Administration would be pumping funds into strengthening the still weak Ambassador College Library. But, once again priorities are not correctly ordered. While the library struggles to meet the standards set forth by W.A.S.C. thousands of dollars are being spent to build new tennis courts, at the expense of academic excellence.
V. FINANCIAL STABILITY
Last, but not least, it is necessary to evaluate the financial stability of the institution. Regarding this area W.A.S.C. commented: "There is a critical need for a careful analysis of working capital... the institution is very heavily leveraged in terms of fixed assets and is greatly dependent upon the maintenance of an ongoing cash flow. Liquidity is obviously at a very low point and, as such, financial flexibility does not exist. W.A.S.C. easily discerned the lack of financial autonomy within the College institution and the potentially fatal weakness of the College's reliance on the uncontrollable and capricious financial support of the Church.
At the time that he demoted Dr. Germano (Memorandum, February 27, 1976), President Armstrong glowingly announced the appointment of Mr. Ray Wright to the position of Chief Financial Officer of the College. Supposedly Mr. Wright would guide all affairs dealing with financial matters for the College-an attempt to persuade W.A.S.C. that the College and Church have two separate financial bases. Closer scrutiny reveals that the College is still directly dependent on the Church organization for financial support. Stanley Rader has retained his positions of Vice-President of Financial Affairs for the Church and Secretary and Treasurer on the College Board of Trustees, and he is still Ray Wright's superior as outlined by an interesting memo dated March 2, 1976 and directed to all employees:
"Department listings under Financial Affairs should read:
Vice President, Stanley R. Rader…5191
Secretary, Lelah Upton......5194
Assistant Vice Pres., Raymond Wright…5193
Secretary, Cheryl Hoffman....5193
Secretary, [not legible] Upton......5471
Added under Ambassador International Cultural Foundation (AICF) should be:
Sec.-Treasurer, Henry Cornwall...5196
Operations Mgr., Raymond Wright…5193"
No financial autonomy was promoted by President Armstrong's appointment of Mr. Wright as chief financial officer of the College; Stanley Rader maintains control over the financial interests of both the College and Church. The College remains very much dependent on the Church for its financial support and is constructively controlled by it.
The possibility of an extreme identity crisis between Church and College has not been avoided. Is the College merely an arm of the Church which can be jettisoned at the flick of a "financial crisis"? Would the Church close the College in lieu of the more important matters of reaching the world with a last "end-time message"? In a sermon given on March 13, 1976, Garner Ted Armstrong states that he might do just that:
"Well, I look around now and I find that there are people whose names I have never even heard of before who are BIGGER IN RADIO AND TELEVISION THAN WE ARE!-far bigger. People whose names you wouldn't have known two to three years ago, who were absolute 'nobodies' in the religious field, have almost overnight... grown to greater capacity in the number of people they are reaching than is this Work. And I am going to turn that around NO MATTER WHAT IT COSTS! -Whether it costs a College, whether it costs whatever-we are not going to be satisfied in this Work with being number seven... or even with being number two. The job that we have got to do of warning and being a witness to the entirety of this world has got to be a number one job!"
Curiously, he seems to retract these words later in this same sermon:
"I've been saying to everybody, 'We ought to be building Colleges not closing them down, and starting schools not shutting them down, and going on dozens and hundreds of radio stations not cutting them back,' and that's precisely what I want to do...."
Notice, early in the sermon he raised the very strong possibility of closing the College in order to achieve his goals of making the Work number one. Then in a mixture of retraction and subterfuge he attempted to persuade his audience what they heard is not what he meant at all. It seems though, that he did mean that he would go to any means to forward his pursuit of 1,000 radio stations and hundreds of televisions stations, whatever the cost, because he added the qualifier:
"...but, we must not be afraid and I must not be afraid to look a sacred cow right in the face and to call it a sacred cow.... Things which become appendages, which in a sense hang on the Work and drain it of its strength are going to have to be changed and revitalized and we're going to have to streamline and sharpen the spearpoint right [not legible] of the main thrust of the Work.... We're going to make it our goal to be on 1,000 radio stations, not 240... hundreds of television stations not 30 or 40…."
The College remains in appendage of the Church which can be closed, sliced or ditched at the whim of the Armstrongs. As such, accreditation of the College could be little more than a bad joke.
Obviously, the basic philosophical changes that would give Ambassador a run at accreditation have not been made. Although Dr. Germano and his team made significant strides toward achieving accreditation and a more independent education environment grew from these efforts, there were some who were unable to cope under the pressure of honest, open, truth-seeking scrutiny. When the Armstrongs speak of "earnestly desiring accreditation", "vigorously pursuing accreditation", etc., they actually mean that they are seeking the privleges of accredited status while avoiding as many of the responsibilities and prices of it as possible. Unless the appropriate changes which would foster a truly open, healthy academic environment (i.e., Trustee independence; Administrative independence; academic freedom and tenure; a full-time, qualified President; economic independence) are made, Ambassador College can never hope to operate as a legitimate educational institution.
The Western Association of Schools and Colleges exists for the express purpose of critically exposing "educational" charlatanism. The issue is simply one of truth in advertising. All who desire the accreditation of Ambassador College should be aware that W.A.S.C. will see through the barage of flack coming from the mouths of those in high places and will tell those responsible to either fulfill the requirements or shut up. When this occurs, though, the Armstrongs will doubtlessly throw their supreme tantrum and close the College in the same way a small child, who in conflict with a parent over a toy breaks the toy rather than give it up.
All concerned with the accreditation of Ambassador College should be both determined and committed to stopping this perennial, ulcer-generating instability to which the Administration, Faculty and Student Body are continually subjected. The only certain manner by which it will end is the neutralization and detoxification of the power now held by H.W.A., G.T.A. and S.R.R.-preferably by their resignation. Regretably, it is highly unlikely that this will ever voluntarily take place. But, channels do exist that could extremely minimize their power. An internal avenue would be for the Board of Trustees to exercise the clout which it legally possesses to see that their power is either severely diminished and controlled, or altogether eliminated. In fact, if the Board were so disposed, it could give the triumvirate their walking papers in its next quorum meeting by taking a majority vote. Such action is highly unlikely, however, because the other twelve rnembers of the Board have never learned to exercise thinking independent of the three.
Another means of ensuring accreditation would be by alerting W.A.S.C. regarding the power held by Rader and both Armstrongs. In this way pressure can be exerted on the Board of Trustees to enact those policies which will guarantee the accreditation of Ambassador College for the right reasons. No one man or small group of men should claim to be Ambassador College-anyone who has sacrificed time and money for the sake of the institution has a right in determining the future of the college they helped to build.
Let your voice be heard. Don't let Ambassador lose this chance for accreditation. Write to: WESTERN ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES, Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities, Mills College, Oakland, California 94613. AMBASSADOR REVIEW would appreciate receiving a copy of your letter so that it can continue to monitor Ambassador College's progress toward full accreditation.
-Margaret D. Zola
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