Chapter 4, Part 6 – 1961 Through 1962
1961 was a year of great sadness for the entire chiropractic profession. John Nugent, NCA’s director of education for more than 20 years, retired. Additionally, two giants of the chiropractic profession passed away: B.J. Palmer and Vinton Logan. I961 also marked the passing of Kathryn Budden. She was interred in the Riverview Cemetery beside her beloved husband, Dr. W. A. Budden.
Despite having its accreditation reaffirmed, the NCA and the Council on Education continuously pressured the college to comply with its wishes. In October 1961, FACE scheduled a visit to the college. Although the FACE report from that visit cannot be found, a May 26, 1962, HRF resolution in response to the report provides some insight into what it contained, as well as an indication of how prescriptive the accrediting process had become. A portion of the HRF resolution reads:
WHEREAS: F.A.C.E. has requested that the name of Western States College be shared and divided with L.A.C.C. to be published in the future as Western States College, Northern Division and Southern Division and…
Wishing to have neither the future, nor the fate of the college determined by an outside organization, the HRF board gently pushed back by concluding in a resolution that Drs. Higgens and Elliot would represent WSC in “negotiations” with the FACE board. The proceedings of those negotiations, if there were any, cannot be found. However, it is clear what the outcome was. There would be no sharing or dividing of either WSC or LACC. It is not known to what extent LACC and WSC may have discussed a merger or for how long that conversation took place, but late in 1961 the HRF concluded that it would simply be too difficult to conduct the affairs of two campuses as distant from one another as these two were. Furthermore, it was exceedingly impractical. Consideration of a merger with LACC was abandoned.
At the 1962 annual meeting of the Council on Education, two significant steps were taken to more definitively direct the future of chiropractic education. First, a sixth draft of the Educational Standards for Chiropractic Colleges was completed and distributed to the colleges. Second, the Council started debate within the NCA House of Delegates, among chiropractic colleges, with licensing boards and the profession on the issue of a two-year, pre-professional education requirement for admission to chiropractic colleges. Finally, the process was underway to bring about a uniform admission requirement. Finding agreement on uniformity would take years, but at least the conversation had begun. At the same meeting, the Council on Education awarded “provisional accreditation” to nine colleges, one of which was Western States College.
With that pronouncement, WSC would enter an accreditation maze that would take almost 20 years to navigate.
Initially, “provisional accreditation” was welcomed, but soon enough the college would realize the accomplishment didn’t provide much in the way of advancement. Upon his return to campus, Dr. Elliot shared this good news with the rest of the college community and alumni. In response, Dr. Elliot received a letter from the WSC Alumni Association containing a series of resolutions in support of:
- a new and better campus
- high education standards
- student procurement
- a good working relationship with the NCA and FACE
- representation by Dr. Elliot to NCA and FACE and the preservation of Western States College “…without question, as a separate entity as a Bastille for Chiropractic in the Northwest, as it and its predecessors have for the past 55 years.”
Four days later, a letter was sent to alums and friends of the chiropractic profession from the highly-respected Richard D. Stonebrink, DC, DABCO, secretary-treasurer of the WSC Alumni Association. The letter announced the alumni association had raised over $3,000 towards a matching grant from FACE. The letter also encouraged members and supporters of the profession to make a concerted effort to recruit students for the college. The college had found a worthy ally in its fight for survival.
Support from alumni would come at a price. Elements within the alumni association, campus constituencies, and the Oregon Association of Chiropractic Physicians (OACP) began to air concerns about the concentration of power in the hands of just three trustees. The various factions expressed a desire to have broader representation in decision-making at the college.
This concern had surfaced on previous occasions, but this time there were more voices and greater insistence. Dr. Higgens and the two trustees decided it was better to diversify the membership of the board than to engage in a dispute that would further alienate the very individuals it needed for support. At the December 1962 meeting of the HRF Board of Trustees, they moved to increase the number of trustees to seven. Dr. Stonebrink was appointed one of the new members.
Less than a year later, the college would be notified that his appointment violated a CCE policy precluding faculty from serving on the chiropractic college governing board. Dr. Stonebrink had to resign.
Dr. Stonebrink was replaced by Dr. Donovan Hampton. At the December meeting, Higgens read a letter from NCA-FACE demanding the college reduce its indebtedness. In response to this demand, Drs. Higgens and Elliot submitted prepared letters at the meeting absolving the college of any financial obligation to them. The two simply wrote off owed salary and loans to the college as “bad and uncollectable debt.” The year ended on this positive note, but without much progress towards resolving the college’s long-term financial difficulties.
Telling of the difficult times facing the college, the May 1962 graduating classes contained only seven candidates.