Is La Sierra University Legally Distancing Itself from the Church?

by Sean Pitman

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La Sierra University is about to vote on proposed bylaw changes that appear to allow it to distance itself from as much church influence as had previously been in place with regard to the governance of the school.  It appears that such measures are being considered due to the recent pressures from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) – ever since the evolution/creation controversy has come to the forefront at LSU.  Consider, for example, the explanation of LSU’s executive director of university relations, Larry Becker:

The recommendations [regarding proposed changes to the university’s bylaws] address concerns about university governance issues identified by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), La Sierra’s regional accrediting body (Link).

And what will these bylaw changes do?  Well, the proposed changes will effectively distance the school from church influence and control over the governance of the school to at least some degree – compared to the degree of influence and control that is currently in place.  Is LSU heading down the path of so many well-known schools that started out as Christian church schools, but eventually ended up as secular institutions (i.e., Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc)?

 

 

LSU’s Proposed Bylaw Changes

 

Additional analysis of these bylaw changes can be found posted at Advindicate.com:  Analysis of La Sierra Bylaw Changes

 

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7 thoughts on “Is La Sierra University Legally Distancing Itself from the Church?

  1. The official title of the Union is “Pacific Union Conference of SDA”. The proposed changes have dropped the phrase “Conference of SDA” but have maintained it when referring to local conferences such as for Arizona. Why not be consistent?

    I did like section 6.98a where it states that the board should run the university so as to be “aligned with the goals, philosophy, and objectives of the SDA Church.” All that is needed is to see that the policy is followed.




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    • @Chris Chan:

      Note that on p. 1 under Article 4 “Pacific Union” is defined as “Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.” So every time you read “Pacific Union” thereafter, it means “Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.”

      That’s the legalese way of simplifying a legal document when the same person or organization is referred to multiple times throughout the document. If the other conferences are only mentioned once, it wouldn’t make sense to define a shorter term for them too.




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  2. Chris Chan: The official title of the Union is “Pacific Union Conference of SDA”. The proposed changes have dropped the phrase “Conference of SDA” but have maintained it when referring to local conferences such as for Arizona. Why not be consistent?

    Take another look at lines 17-18, where you will see that “Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists” is abbreviated thereafter to “Pacific Union.” Abbreviated.




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  3. Wesley may be right but to a non-legal mind like me, if one isn’t “aligned”, then it must be “diverging”. Perhaps to hit all the bases, it should be “aligned AND congruent”!!! Grrrrr!




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  4. I have often wondered why LSU is so concerned about this accreditation “stuff,” when other Christian universities, like Liberty, Oral Roberts, Point Loma, and others, face no such attention.




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  5. Ken, are you sure the church is ‘clueless’? What then are the leaders doing in their positions? Why are they there? Is this the reason why not only La Sierra, but many other Adventist institutions, based on my research, are going the same route? What, Ken, is the point of difference? What has ‘Christian education’ in SDA become? Ken, the most strange and ‘unholy’ things happen under cover of darkness- this could just be one thing……once the spotlight zooms again, there might be many, many more….Get into the brace position- the ride is set to be bumpy and overly tumultuous!! Unless, of course, the cover-ups are done really well! But, Ken, truth always have the habit of revealing itself- most times, at the most awkward and ‘naked’ moments when it is least expected




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