Chapter 7, Part 5 – 1979
Accreditation and finances were not the only fronts on which the college found itself battling in 1979. The letter sent by the disgruntled ex-faculty member of the college to the CCE, FCLB, USDOE and licensing boards across the United States eventually found an interested and concerned recipient: the Washington Board of Chiropractic Examiners. Once again, the WBCE felt it had cause to deny WSCC graduates licensure in Washington.
Just two weeks before its fateful appearance before the CCE, the college received a letter from the Office of the Washington attorney general directing the college to respond to the Washington Board of Chiropractic Examiner’s “list of interrogatories.” The college was given 30 days to comply and warned that “FAILURE TO ANSWER THESE INTERROGATORIES, FULLY AND COMPLETELY, MAY RESULT IN WITHDRAWL OF APPROVAL BY THE BOARD OF CHIROPRACTIC EXAMINERS.”
The college complied with the demand from the WBCE to provide documents and answers, but the CCE’s decision to deny WSCC reaffirmation of accreditation at the June meeting was going to complicate matters. Following the college’s response to the list of interrogatories, Dr. Vear made a formal request to appear before the WBCE at its August meeting, during which the examining board planned to discuss the status of WSCC. Dr. Vear informed the WBCE he would be accompanied by legal counsel.
In August 1979, President Vear and college legal counsel appeared before the Washington Board of Chiropractic Examiners to respond to questions regarding WSCC’s compliance with Washington chiropractic law. The often heated exchange lasted two hours, but no decision was reached while Dr. Vear and legal counsel were present. Rather, the WBCE went into executive session to deliberate the fate of the college. A telephone vote regarding the disposition of WSCC was conducted by the WBCE a couple of days later.
The members voted to deny WSCC recognition. Subsequently, the WBCE informed the Office of the Washington Attorney General of their decision and instructed the attorney general (AG) to prefer charges against WSCC for non-compliance with Washington chiropractic law. Subsequently, the Office of the Washington AG notified WSCC of its non-compliance, informing the college it had 20 days to file an appeal of that determination.
College legal counsel expressed confidence that grounds existed for a successful appeal. It was counsel’s opinion that the WBCE decision was not based on the facts presented by the college; that the WBCE had conducted “…an illegal meeting…” and had engaged in “…selective enforcement of their law.” The AG was notified in writing of the college’s intent and grounds for appeal. In early November, the college received a letter from the Washington AG suggesting an out of court settlement would be the best way to resolve differences between WSCC and the WBCE. College counsel was authorized and directed to arrange an amicable settlement and bring this ordeal to a close.
Of all the challenges facing the college, achieving accreditation would prove the most trying and difficult. Failure to achieve accreditation was not an option.
To achieve accreditation, the college would have to address the unresolved concerns identified by the CCE, of which, the financial stability of the college was at the top of the list. At least one of the other identified concerns of the CCE had already been successfully addressed; under Vear’s leadership, administrative and board stability was reestablished. A concerted effort by the college administration and board could bring about financial stability as well. To that end, an aggressive fundraising campaign was launched.
News of the college’s precarious accreditation situation had spread through the chiropractic profession and admission applications to WSCC tumbled. The college was tuition-dependent to the extreme. A demonstration of financial stability would require additional sources of income. With tuition as its only dependable source of revenue, the college would have to employ other measures to balance its budget; this meant cost-cutting. Immediate savings came from a board decision to enroll only one class per year, in the fall. It was estimated that this alone would save the college about $300,000 a year. It would significantly reduce the number of times any one course was taught and, correspondingly, reduce faculty loads and salaries. Long-term financial stability could be achieved very quickly with this change.
In the latter months of 1979, at least two other chiropractic college presidents notified WSCC that they would be willing to receive WSCC students, if it became necessary to close the college. Nevertheless, both colleges expressed their support of the continuation of WSCC.