Chapter 7, Part 2 – 1978
In mid-June 1978, WSCC appeared before the Council on Chiropractic Education to provide further evidence of its compliance with accreditation standards. Following their appearance, the college received a letter from CCE in which the council identified two areas where the college did not comply with the standards and four additional areas of concern.
Lack of Compliance:
- Objectives – there was a lack of clear definition of objectives in the WSCC Update and Self-Evaluation Report.
- Financial Management – there was a need to address both organizational and substantive aspects of financial management as noted in the team report
Areas of Concern:
- Organization and corporate structure
- Stability of faculty and administration
- The qualitative clinical experience, particularly laboratory, physical exam and x-ray
- Research is only in planning stage
For WSCC, the accreditation process had taken a turn for the worse. The college would have to address the compliance and concerns issues swiftly and productively or they would lose their accreditation. This would be a death sentence for the college.
The concerns identified by the CCE did not surprise the campus community. Students had been complaining for some time about overcrowding, tuition increases and the clinic experience. They saved their harshest criticism for the faculty, whom they considered under-qualified, disinterested and/or chronically absent. Even more problematic for the administration was a resurgence of the chiropractic philosophy issue. A troublesome group of students was fomenting dissent across campus. These students were insisting that a “straight” philosophy be equally represented on campus and proprietary technique courses be taught in the curriculum.
Student discontent on campus was further inflamed when they learned the results of the most recent administration of the licensing exam in Oregon: a 100 percent failure rate. Outraged students sought relief from their representatives in the Oregon state legislature. The college was sympathetic to the students’ anxiety and wrote letters to the OBCE on their behalf, challenging the validity of the exam. A number of students began the process of transferring to other chiropractic colleges. The college could not afford a campus crisis at a time when accreditation hung in the balance. President Timmins and other members of the college administration worked overtime to resolve this issue. Ultimately, the college prevailed; it was given assurances from the OBCE that there would not be another occurrence of this nature.
The faculty had its own issues and complained no less loudly than the students about being underpaid, under-represented and without a voice in college decision-making. By June 1978, the faculty had become so fed up with the lack of administrative responsiveness to its concerns that it voted to form a bargaining unit affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers of the AFL/CIO. By October, negotiations had become so contentious that an unfair labor practices claim was filed with the National Labor Relations Board. Fortunately for the entire campus, the claim was withdrawn the following month, but this did not diminish the intensity of discussions between the faculty and administration. The faculty made it known that it was planning to strike unless its issues were addressed appropriately. Just before the year ended, an agreement was reached and a strike was averted.
Elizabeth Olsen, RN, DC joined the WSCC faculty in October of 1978. Her background and experience in nursing made her an ideal candidate to instruct two of the more challenging clinical courses at the college – obstetrics and gynecology. When most of the WSCC students arrived in her classes, they had neither knowledge of nor interest in the subject matter. However, upon successful completion of her courses, they would have both.
Despite periodic flare-ups of discontent by students and faculty, the period from 1976 through 1978 was relatively calm compared to 1979, when the college experienced one of the most acrimonious and volatile episodes in its history.