Chapter 11, Part 4 – 2000 – 2001
2000 – 2010: The New Millennium
- The Supreme Court declared George W. Bush winner of a disputed presidential election.
- Terrorists hijacked and crashed airliners into the Pentagon and World Trade Center.
- U.S. and U.K. forces commenced the war on terrorism in Afghanistan.
- The space shuttle Columbia exploded, killing all seven astronauts aboard.
- Forces from the U.S., the U.K. and the coalition invade Iraq.
- 290,000 people were killed by a tsunami born from a 9.3 earthquake in the Indian Ocean.
- Hurricane Katrina inundated the city of New Orleans.
- The U.S. fell into deep economic recession; millions lose their jobs and homes.
- Senator Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States.
The start of the new millennium marked the start of construction on the new lecture facility. The necessary financial resources had been obtained, the architectural renderings were finished and the college had procured a building permit without experiencing the obstacles and roadblocks encountered in the limited use permit process. These objectives achieved, the college put the construction contract out for bid.
In early 2000, WSCC was contacted by a Brazilian chiropractor interested in starting a chiropractic program in Sao Paulo. Eduardo Bracher, DC, MD, wanted WSCC to partner in this enterprise. Representatives from the college flew to Brazil to meet with Dr. Bracher and assess the potential risks, benefits and challenges of affiliating with a university there. WSCC agreed to produce a distant-learning, chiropractic curriculum for export to the University of Anhembi Morumbi (UAM) where staff at UAM would translate the curriculum into Portuguese for instruction by Brazilian chiropractors. Following a signed agreement by the presidents of WSCC and UAM, college faculty set about creating lecture materials, class notes and video-tapes of lectures and labs on chiropractic-related material for export to Brazil.
At the conclusion of each semester of instruction, the WSCC faculty member responsible for creating the course material taught that term, Dr. Lester Lamm, would spend two to three weeks in Brazil conducting hands-on labs for the Brazilian students. The UAM chiropractic program was launched in August of 2000 with an inaugural class of 33 students. Four years later, in August of 2004, UAM graduated its first class. The UAM chiropractic program remains one of the most successful chiropractic programs in Latin America to-date.
By late 2000, declines in WSCC enrollment coupled with an extraordinary debt load conspired to undermine the college’s ability to financially sustain itself. It was dangerously close to a financial meltdown once again. The situation was dire; additional funding sources had not been found and the college had cut the operations budget as deeply as was possible. The administration was confident that if the college could get through the next two years, it would be able to reverse direction.
This was another critical period in the college’s history. Macabre interest in the DCM was fading; the constant din of negative press was subsiding; enrollment projections were promising and construction on the new lecture facility was capturing the attention of prospective students. There were ample reasons to be optimistic about the future. It was the present that most concerned the college – it had run out of money. At this most critical juncture, the WSCC faculty stepped forward to offer a lifeline to the college. The faculty bargaining unit offered to take substantial pay cuts for the period of time necessary to move beyond the crisis. The combined savings from faculty, administration and staff salary reductions was enough to keep the college financially solvent for the next couple of years.
Dr. Steven Oliver retired in 2000, after 25 years of dedicated service to the college. He was recognized for always putting others and the college before himself. Dr. Oliver provided a sense of stability at the college during some of its most challenging periods. He would be profoundly missed.
Dr. Joanne Nyiendo also retired in 2000, after 22 years at the college. Her efforts and hard work had brought WSCC to the forefront of chiropractic research. Her research proposals had attracted millions of dollars in grants to the college. She founded the Center for Outcomes Research at WSCC, where it continues to thrive. She was acknowledged by her co-workers as a hardworking, honest, friendly, and dedicated member of the college community. She was acknowledged by her peers as one of the finest researchers in the chiropractic profession, a recognition that garnered her Researcher of the Year by the American Chiropractic Association.
Having narrowly avoided a financial calamity in 2000, 2001 started with renewed optimism. Construction on the new lecture facility was on schedule and on budget. Completion was expected by early May and occupancy by summer term. A dedication ceremony was planned for October.
The college wanted to use the occasion of dedicating its state-of-the-art lecture facility as a new beginning, an opportunity to rally the WSCC community. The administration did not want any distractions to hamper the achievement of that objective. Well in advance of the dedication ceremony, the college publicly announced that efforts to create a DCM degree had been suspended. The firestorm of protest and opposition to the DCM proposal had been such a distraction the college was never able to complete a curriculum for the program. Other than a lot of conversation and a white paper loosely describing what a DCM might look like, not much in the way of substance ever materialized.
Acquiring legislative recognition, degree-granting authority and accreditation for a DCM degree would have taken years; more of an undertaking than the college was willing to shoulder alone. Obtaining statutory authority in the state of Oregon might have been achieved if the profession in Oregon had rallied behind the DCM, but support had dried up once the opposition waded in. Obtaining statutory authority for a DCM degree on a state-by-state basis would have taken decades and would have required the support of a united chiropractic profession, something the profession was incapable of providing. A lot of noise had been generated by the DCM proposal and a lot of dust had been kicked into the air about it; perhaps it was an idea before its time. Whatever the reasons or circumstances, the WSCC proposal for a DCM degree was withdrawn in early 2001.
Despite an air of optimism blowing across campus, the college was not without its challenges. In early 2001, WSCC students presented a petition to the administration soliciting help in addressing what they considered to be non-responsiveness by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. The students had grown impatient and intolerant of NBCE rules for examination; they were on the verge of revolt. The students claimed they were being unjustly denied the opportunity to complete all four of the NBCE qualifying examinations in a timely manner. They were particularly dissatisfied with the eligibility requirements to take the Part IV exam, the exam qualifying them for licensure in most jurisdictions. Some WSCC students were waiting up to nine months after graduation before obtaining licensure, an unacceptable delay in the eyes of the students. The college agreed with the students’ position and approached NBCE with solutions for mitigating the situation. NBCE felt the changes requested by the college on the students’ behalf would be too disruptive and difficult to implement. NBCE respectfully declined to adopt any of the college’s proposed solutions.
The college felt that NBCE’s position was unreasonable in light of the difficulty it caused graduating students. In 2001, the college embarked upon a concerted effort to change NBCE’s rules regarding Part IV exam eligibility, advocating for a change that would allow students to complete all parts of the qualifying examinations prior to graduation. The college met annually with NBCE personnel and its board of directors to discuss how the change could be adopted. The college debated the issue before meetings of other chiropractic colleges, political groups and organizations, but despite wide support for the proposed change, it was never enough to sway NBCE. It would take another seven years of advocacy before the NBCE board finally voted to change the rule in 2008.
In summer term 2001, classes were taught in the new Hampton Hall. The long-awaited lecture hall was finished. Hampton Hall was so named after Dr. Donovan Hampton, a former member of the Board of Trustees. Dr. Hampton, a veteran of the Korean Conflict, was an ardent supporter of the college and made arrangements to further support the college financially after his passing. Dr. Hampton’s widow, Maxine, had provided a significant financial grant to the college to facilitate construction of the lecture facility. She was joined by a group of Korean conflict veterans to dedicate the new facility in the name of her late husband and their fallen brother-in-arms. Hampton Hall was an instant success with students and faculty. The hall consisted of three large lecture rooms, two with a seating capacity of 100 and one larger room with a seating capacity of 150. Each of the tiered, auditorium-style rooms contained state-of-the-art audiovisual systems designed to enhance the teaching-learning experience. Shortly after the dedication ceremony, the college was informed that Hampton Hall had won a Northwest architectural design award.
2001 would be a year during which many challenges were met, obstacles overcome and achievements recognized.
On October 12, it was announced that two bills relating to chiropractic had passed the U.S. Congress and awaited the signature of the president. One bill provided for chiropractic care to veterans through the Veterans Administration; the other bill provided chiropractic care to active military services personnel through the Department of Defense. These were two extraordinary accomplishments for the chiropractic profession. Other national health care legislative acts supportive of chiropractic would follow.
On the heels of legislation providing for chiropractic care to veterans and active duty personnel, President Bush signed into law a provision including chiropractic participation in the National Health Services Corps in 2002. Enactment of this law allowed graduates from chiropractic colleges to participate in health care programs to underserved areas of the United States and have a substantial portion of their student loan indebtedness forgiven.