The Western Association of Schools and Colleges has placed The Master’s University on probation, citing a “climate of fear, intimidation, bullying, and uncertainty among significant numbers of faculty and staff” among many other concerns. Grace to You preacher John MacArthur is also the current president of TMU.
The school must address issues in four broad areas to maintain accreditation. These concerns include board independence, personnel and management practice, operational integrity and leadership. Specifically, the action letter from the WASC says “The institution does not meet the WSCUC requirement for governing board independence since many members of the Board are employed by the institution or another organization for which the president has authority.” When board members report to the president in another capacity, they cannot truly supervise the president or carry out their fiduciary responsibility as board members.
Of particular concern is a finding of conflict of interest involving president’s son-in-law Kory Welch who functions as an administrator. According to the action letter, this individual oversees contracts which have gone to friends and relatives.
There is also mixing of staff and payments between MacArthur’s ministry Grace to You and TMU. For instance, on the 2015 990 form for Grace to You, MacArthur’s son-in-law Kory Welch’s businesses were awarded nearly $790,000 for contract work.
According to the report, the conflict of interest had been known for six months without any action. This was not acceptable to the accrediting commission and they recommended the school seek legal counsel to “insure resolution of all reported conflicts of interest.” (p. 44 of the report)
The school has two years to remedy these matters. The WASC will send a team back to the school in November of this year to check on progress.
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Image: The Master’s University, by Lukasinla [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons