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8-3-11 AUC to lay off all staff as partnership with WAU delayed
Arrangements made for Mass. students to attend WAU, other schools
26 Jul 2011, Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
The Seventh-day Adventist® Church's oldest educational institution, Atlantic Union College (AUC), plans to lay off its entire staff of 97 full-time employees on July 31 because of a delay in a partnership proposal of the institution with church-run Washington Adventist University (WAU) in Maryland.
Leaders of both institutions have been working to secure permission from Massachusetts' education authorities to operate AUC as a satellite campus of WAU following the loss of its accreditation from a regional accrediting agency effective July 31. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges cited financial reasons in its decision.
Meanwhile, plans are in place to enable the current and prospective AUC students to attend WAU during fall semester. About 450 current AUC students were affected, said William Jackson, director of marketing and recruitment at WAU.
In March, both Adventist-owned institutions signed a "memorandum of understanding" meant to allow WAU to establish a satellite location on the South Lancaster, Massachusetts campus.
In a July 14 press release, WAU officials said that the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education has not processed the university's application to establish a satellite campus at AUC as school officials had planned. The proposal could take "up to a year," said Katy Abel, associate commissioner for external affairs for the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education.
"We're working through the process and are optimistic that we'll be able to operate soon after permission is granted by the commonwealth," WAU President Weymouth Spence said in the release.
"Fortunately, WAU has already been working with our students to provide a smooth transition to the Takoma Park campus," AUC President Norman Wendth said in the release.
Source: Adventist News Network