From the Adventist Review:
Still under review is La Sierra’s accreditation by the Adventist Accrediting Association, or AAA, associated with the General Conference’s Education Department. AAA is reviewing its endorsement of La Sierra, an approval that is important within the Seventh-day Adventist community and may be linked to church financial aid to the university.
According to the AAA handbook, “Accreditation is concerned principally with the improvement of educational quality in institutions operated by the Seventh-day Adventist church around the world. Accreditation of an institution by AAA signifies that the institution has a purpose appropriate to service the educational needs of those in its constituency and has the resources, programs, and services sufficient to accomplish the institution’s goals.”
“At its October 9, 2013 meeting, the board of the Adventist Accrediting Association will consider the report of the review team that conducted a Focused Visit to La Sierra University from April 16-18, 2013,” Beardsley-Hardy said. “The AAA board will also consider the by-laws that were voted since that site visit, as well as any other significant matters that may occur prior to the AAA board meeting. It will take time to know whether the recently voted by-laws will strengthen accomplishment of mission.”
She added that the La Sierra board has substantial responsibilities in keeping the school faithful to its mission: “The board needs to clearly express the goals, means, and primary constituents served, and as a Seventh-day Adventist institution, explain what makes La Sierra University distinctive from … secular and private universities. The board needs to determine and monitor programs and ensure they are consistent with the mission and purposes of a Seventh-day Adventist university. The board holds administration accountable for carrying out the mission on a day-to-day basis. Ultimately, the faculty are essential partners in accomplishing mission, not only because of the power they hold based on academic freedom, but because learning, and the integration of faith and knowledge in the various disciplines takes place under the direction of the faculty. They need to be fully converted, God-fearing mentors and guides who live out the mission every day,” Beardsley-Hardy said.
I for one find it hard to imagine how the AAA could approve accreditation or funding for a school that continues to maintain and hire professors of science and religion who strongly oppose, with essentially no opposition or challenge, the Seventh-day Adventist position on a literal 7-day creation week – who actively teach their students that the best and most rational “scientific” view of origins is the neo-Darwinian view where life has existed and evolved on this planet over the course of many hundreds of millions of years. These same professors tell their students that there is no real empirical evidence to challenge this story or support the Biblical perspective on origins and that if they want to hear the Church’s position, they need to go to the religion department (also run by professors who do not believe in the literal 7-day creation week).
How can such an institution continue to bear the name “Seventh-day Adventist”? If this is not a clear example of false advertising, I don’t know what is? If our church is willing to sell out its fundamental principles because of pressure from an agency like WASC, then we, as an organized denomination, are in real trouble.