TMU President discusses probation

FILE PHOTO: The Master's University class of 2017 graduates sing a hymn at the start of commencement ceremonies at College of the Canyons on May 5, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

During his first opportunity of the school year to speak to students, the president of The Master’s University and Seminary denied the claims that have landed his school on probation from its accrediting organization.

A report released from The Western Association of Schools and Colleges, or WASC, through its Senior College and University Commission, in August detailed allegations of conflicts of interest regarding student financial aid, institutional leaders being hired who lack qualifications for the higher education positions they hold and what the commission described as “a disturbing climate of fear, intimidation and bullying” at TMU.

In a speech during a private campus meeting at The Master’s Seminary on Aug. 21, a speaker identified as TMU President John MacArthur repeatedly said the claims are an attack — not on the school, but on him, according to a recording of MacArthur’s speech that was posted on a blog called The Wartburg Watch.

A TMU faculty member, speaking on condition of anonymity, listened to the recording and confirmed that it was MacArthur who was speaking.

“I know there’s a lot of questions floating around,” he said, referencing the three-day visit from WASC officials in March that led to the probation decision.

“What had happened in that three days is a rather orchestrated attack,” MacArthur said. “If not by any human source, then certainly by Satan himself. There was an attack directly on me and it came in all kinds of forms.”

MacArthur said learning about a culture of bullying, intimidation and fear was a new experience for him that was puzzling. He said he went to the school’s governing board and told them that it might be best to let him go, “but that wouldn’t allow us to deal with reality, because you don’t want the attackers to triumph.”

God hates those who stir up strife, MacArthur said, which is why the president advised people to keep their mouth shut until they know the full story.

As for the students who complained that they had to hear of their school’s probationary status through Facebook, MacArthur said, “I’m going to be real honest with you. You didn’t have any right to find out about anything. That’s not your responsibility.”

The assumption of today’s culture is that you’re supposed to know anything you want to know, but that isn’t the case, he said, adding that the probation changes nothing.

“I don’t mind the attack because I’ve always believed the only thing worse than finding out you have a problem is not finding out you have a problem,” MacArthur said.

“Why would people in an organization want to burn down the organization they’re in with all their friends,” he added, as he compared the actions to kneeling during the national anthem. “We know football players aren’t as smart as baseball players, but just how dumb they are I don’t know.”

If you wonder who’s behind the conspiracy, ask one question, “Who has the most to gain?” MacArthur said. “If there’s an overthrow going on, if there’s a coup going on, somebody wants your position. Somebody wants to make the decisions that you’re making.”

The ordeal might’ve been a minor detail if there were no internet, MacArthur said. “Nobody would read the report and we’d just go on happily doing what we do.”

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