On July 18, 2018, the Western Association of Senior College & University Commission (WSCUC) sent a letter to Dr. John MacArthur, formally documenting the decision WSCUC made to impose the sanction of probation on The Master’s University and The Master’s Seminary.
The letter detailed the probationary status process:
The Commission has found that The Master’s University and Seminary is not in compliance with WSCUC Standards 1, 2, and 3. Under U.S. Department of Education regulations, when the Commission finds that an institution fails to meet one or more of the Standards of Accreditation, it is required to notify the institution of these findings and give the institution no longer than two years from the date of this action to correct the deficiencies. If an institution has not remedied the deficiencies at the conclusion of this sanction period, the Commission is required, under U.S. Department of Education regulations, to take an “adverse action,” which in this case would take the form of withdrawal of accreditation. An institution under sanction must address the areas cited by the Commission expeditiously, with seriousness and the full attention of the institution’s leadership. It is the responsibility of the Commission to determine, at the end of the sanction period, whether the institution has made the necessary corrections and has come into compliance with Commission Standards.
Below, I have summarized WSCUC ‘s key findings which resulted in the probationary sanction:
Board independence: Instead of independent board members, the
WSCUC team noted that the TMU board is comprised of internal members connected to the institution by employment, or in an area in which John MacArthur is in an authority position. You can’t do that!
Personnel and management practices: The WSCUC team noted “a climate of fear, intimidation, bullying, and uncertainty among significant numbers of faculty and staff.” Does this surprise anyone? Numerous people have shared with me their personal accounts of the same behavior.
Operational integrity: Conflicts of interest were noted regarding the son-in-law of John MacArthur, who was “supervising a contract from which he benefits, as well as institutional aid that exceeds typical aid awards being awarded to friends and relatives.” They also noted a more serious issue that “significant findings” which were reported by the auditor were still being ignored by TMU more than 6 months later. Apparently, they don’t seem to be taking WSCUC’s authority seriously.
Additionally, with regard to the “Jane story” – a rape that had occurred a decade earlier – the commission was not convinced that TMU had the “capacity and willingness of the institution’s leadership to operate with integrity, high performance, appropriate responsibility, and accountability.” Jane most certainly could have told them that!
Leadership: I will quote the whole paragraph on this specific issue because it is very important:
The institution is not in compliance with the requirement in CFR 3.8 regarding the Chief Executive Officer. In addition, some individuals have been hired without job descriptions being provided and/or searches being conducted. Some institutional leaders lack higher education experience, preparation, and knowledge of key higher education regulatory expectations and professional standards for institutions of higher education. For example, when asked by the visiting team, the COO was unaware of the Clery Act, VAWA, and the Family Education Right to Privacy Act (FERPA).
These are critical issues. Is it any wonder why Jane did not receive proper help? Also, do you see how school leaders could take advantage of students by not following or knowing the Family Education Right to Privacy Act?
But check out how The Master’s University statement spins these weighty matters in their public statement, dated November 2, 2018. Not only do they blame WSCUC for “inaccuracies,” but they turn their statement into a brag-fest. Unreal!! Here is the link for the statement, but I have also copied it below:
Today, the Western Association of Senior College & University Commission visiting team completed a two-day visit. The chairman of the visiting team, Dr. John Jackson, left the following response:
“The WSCUC Special Visit Team was greatly encouraged by the level of board and community engagement with the previous report. We look forward to the commission taking an action that will be most helpful for the institution.”
Since 1975, The Master’s University and Seminary has received its accreditation from WSCUC. Over the years, WSCUC‘s feedback has served to strengthen the institution. We are grateful for this long-standing relationship and are committed to maintaining our accreditation in good standing.
Since July, The Master’s University and Seminary has investigated and responded extensively to the issues raised in the WSCUC report. The University leadership has taken the steps it believes are necessary to address those issues. The recommendations from WSCUC have been fully pursued and will only serve to make this institution better. TMUS has identified many inaccuracies that were presented to WSCUC that have since been clarified with the truth. All of this is included in the supplemental report which was evaluated by the visiting WSCUC committee on its visit November 1-2.
We know many have been anxious to find out the current status of the University and Seminary. The following will help you understand:
- The report affirmed the University’s excellence in academics, finances and marketing.
- Over the past two years, donor support for the institution has reached its highest point in history.
- We are currently experiencing an increase in enrollment and looking at an even bigger increase next year.
- For two consecutive years, in 2016 and 2017, The Wall Street Journal named The Master’s University the No. 1 Right Choice institution, an award given to the institution that receives the highest level of student satisfaction.
- The board of directors fully supports the current direction of the institution under the leadership of the President.
- The Master’s University put in place a tuition reset in 2017. The result has been an increase in net tuition revenue for the school while decreasing institutional discounting. The reset also resulted in an increase in our ability to reach a broader segment of the population.
- For the last fiscal year we received an unqualified audit opinion from our auditing firm Capin Crouse.
TMUS’s accreditation status hasn’t changed. Our students continue to enjoy the privileges and rights of accreditation from WSCUC. We thank you for your prayers and support for The Master’s University and Seminary.
Ok, so that is the back story. After another visit to TMU, WSCUC posted an update on the status of The Master’s University and Seminary’s probation status as noted in the screenshot below:
The Master’s University and Seminary are still on probation and need ANOTHER special visit by the
So, they couldn’t pull it together after WSCUC identified the issues? Things must have been really bad if they couldn’t correct the issues by the next
Ok, moving on to the next issue. It was reported on Facebook (by a TMU professor’s wife), that 11 layoffs are planned for the end of the school year, plus John MacArthur’s personal secretary.
Wait a minute – – – didn’t we read in their November statement that donor support is the highest in history and increasing enrollment? Something is not lining up!
Here’s a tweet which includes a screenshot of the Facebook note:
I leave you with a comment which I found on a blog where the rubber meets the road:
I think it is very important to note what MacArthur himself states (among many other things) in regards to those who are deemed qualified to lead Christian institutions:
“Nevertheless, those outside the church must recognize him as a man of impeccable reputation. How can a man have a spiritual impact on his community if that community does not respect him? Such an individual can do nothing but bring reproach or disgrace on the cause of Christ.” (MacArthur, John: The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, 1 Timothy [Moody; Chicago] page 119).
In this case, WASC—those outside the schools—are the ones who made the findings, placing the The Masters’ University and Seminary on probation over moral and ethical violations: Findings such as bullying those under one’s authority and deliberate engagement in nepotistic conflicts of interest respectively. These are character issues, deliberate sins in the life of the University and Seminaries’ leader. Probation status did not stem from perfunctory findings, like failing to paper a file, or incorrectly processing a federal tuition grant.
The fact that an outside governmental agency objectively documented and determined that MacArthur’s leadership does not even meet the moral and ethical standards of the world, deems him unqualified to remain at the helm. MacArthur measures up neither to WASC’s nor his own standards.
MacArthur’s response? A half-confession in chapel: Something to the tune of “we’ll do better in the future!” One need examine what MacArthur himself says about such pleas:
“The all too common practice today is to forgive a leader who sins and immediately restore him to his ministry…To immediately restore them to the ministry, however, lowers the standard that God expects leaders to follow. And since leaders serve as the pattern of holiness and virtue for the congregation, the standard for the entire church is lowered” (Ibid, page 103-4). In this case it is the standard of the University and Seminary that is lowered—should he remain anywhere in the picture.
MacArthur should measure himself by his own standards of measure (cf. Matthew 7:1-5); he has fallen on his own sword.
Most important here is the cause of Christ, the Great Commission, the glory of God, and the sustainability and endurance of the University and Seminary (I am a graduate of the Seminary)—not MacArthur and his sycophant board members who are now trying to save face. They have feathered their own bed; it is time for them to fly away. Link
- Does the WASC Commission Letter Address Reports of Sexual Assault at The Master’s University?
- John MacArthur Steps Down as President of The Master’s University
- Jane’s Account of Rape, Response of Master’s University to Her Claims, and a Breaking Development Confirming Details #DoYouSeeUs
- Response to Pastor Eric Davis’ Article on “Do You See Me?” #DoYouSeeUs
- Updated:John MacArthur Speaks to Seminary Students, Allegedly Pays His Son-in-Law Very Well and Claims There is No Racism in *Authentic* Evangelical Churches
This is a great video discussing the serious nature of the WASC findings: