Chapter 5, Part 4 – 1970
1970 – 1980: Growth, Confrontation and Change
- U.S. National Guard troops fired on Kent State Ohio students killing 4 and wounding 9.
- The United States left Vietnam, ending an unpopular war that divided the nation.
- Patty Hearst was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army.
- The Watergate scandal forced President Nixon’s resignation.
- Microsoft was founded.
- Elvis died, drugs implicated.
- Star Wars movie was released, breaking all previous box office sales.
- The first test-tube baby was born with no evidence of abnormalities.
- Iran took American hostages in Tehran.
- Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The decade of the 1970s did not get off to an auspicious beginning for WSCC. In response to a loan request from the college, the ACA informed Dr. Elliot that a loan could not be extended until WSCC had achieved accreditation. Furthermore, the ACA Council on Education could not bend over backward to accommodate WSCC because the council was under close scrutiny by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Dr. Elliot resubmitted another request to FCER for $15,000, but it was denied on the same grounds.
Bachelors Degree Added
At the May 1970 meeting of the Board of Trustees, a proposal was made to award a bachelor’s degree to students successfully completing their second year at WSCC. The proposal was forward thinking for its time and would eventually come to pass.
At the same meeting, Dr. Elliot read a letter from the Washington Board of Chiropractic Examiners, addressed to a WSCC student, informing the student his application for licensure in Washington State was denied because WSCC was not on the “…approved list of chiropractic colleges.” What had started a year earlier as a dispute about the number of hours of chiropractic philosophy taught at WSCC had escalated into an action by the WBCE that constituted a direct threat to the college’s survival.
For the next year and a half, the college exchanged correspondence with the WBCE in an attempt to find an equitable solution. From the college’s perspective, denying WSCC graduates the opportunity to obtain licensure in Washington was simply unacceptable. A year and a half later, the college had nothing to show for its efforts.
While the college busied itself deflecting external criticism, the Board of Trustees wisely looked internally for solutions to college problems. The board recognized the college had no “action plan.” For years, the college had been on the defensive, in survival mode, grasping at straws, all without a plan to guide them. So much time was spent being reactive, there was no time to spend being proactive.
The college needed a plan, a roadmap to growth and prosperity. Recognizing the need, a college committee appointed by Dr. Elliot created a series of short- and long-term goals and objectives. Although lacking in great detail, a document entitled “Outline of Objectives” from that period provides insight into where the college felt it needed to focus its limited resources.
As abbreviated as the plan was, it clearly prescribed a set of goals and objectives in keeping with the urgency of the college’s situation. Also, the plan was prioritized appropriately. The first objective was achieving accreditation, without which the college could not survive. The second objective consisted of a list of resources to be targeted for financial support. The third objective established target enrollment numbers. At the very least, the plan focused the institution on the immediate threats and available opportunities. Achieving accreditation depended on success in the other two areas: financial stability and increased enrollment. The college tackled finances first.
Relief from financial stress on the college had to be found. At its summer 1970 meeting, the board proposed substantial increases to annual tuition for each of the next three years: $990 per year for 1971; $1,080 per year for 1972; $1170 per year for 1973. The college had never announced tuition increases this far in advance. The board realized that an increase of 10 percent per year for three consecutive years placed a significant financial burden on students, especially those who received no financial aid or other support. It might be more of a burden than students were willing to shoulder. The board was gambling that increases in tuition would amount to less than losses suffered by students choosing to go elsewhere.
From the board’s perspective, there was no place else for the college to go. Tuition hikes were a last resort. Alumni had been solicited for support. The Oregon Association of Chiropractic Physicians had been approached with a funding proposal. The national chiropractic associations had been solicited for support and foundations supporting chiropractic education had been asked for support. All responded in varying degrees, but in total, it was insufficient to offset expenditures that routinely exceeded revenues.
As difficult and regrettable as it was, there were no others to whom the college could turn to rescue it from its financial troubles. The board realized that raising tuition to the levels proposed would buy only a little more time and increases this substantial would not be tolerated by the students for very long. Supplemental financial resources had to be found, and quickly.
Affiliation or merger with another college continued to be an option. Interest in a multiple-college amalgamation on the Warner Pacific campus had waned considerably as some of the institutions approached their own accreditation self-study cycle. However, some of the other area colleges initially showing interest in forming a union of institutions began anew to discuss the prospect. WSCC joined the conversation shortly after a representative from George Fox mentioned the possible inclusion of WSCC in a new complex being developed on its campus. In a matter of months, WSCC was once again considering affiliation with the Association of Christian Colleges of Oregon, Warner Pacific, Michel’s Institute of Technology and Columbia Christian of Eugene, all under the roof of George Fox College.
At the same time, the college was preparing for another accreditation effort. By late 1970, the college had enlisted the able support of Dr. George Haynes, president of LACC, to assist WSCC obtain full accreditation status. The college was scheduled to present its case at the meeting of the Council on Education in January 1971. Dr. Haynes advised the college to focus on five areas of immediate need:
- six additional full-time faculty members
- a librarian and at least 1,000 new books
- affiliation with another institution
- a physiology laboratory
- successful fundraising of at least $50,000
Armed with Haynes’ list of specific needs, Dr. Elliot and the Board of Trustees appointed six task force committees, (recruiting, accreditation, planning, funding, public relations and library) charging them with the responsibility of plotting a course of action to resolve each of the identified deficiencies. Each committee was made up of faculty members, administrators, and trustees, and each committee was expected to produce an action plan that would convince the accrediting agency the college was making substantial progress.