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What is Going on at King University and Why Should We Care?

Some alumni who have close ties to the university have raised a red flag that there are problems at King University. Some of these problems include how it is operating and the direction it is taking; but the most troubling concerns come from how the current faculty and students are being treated. Attempts to discuss these problems with the administration have led nowhere. Therefore, some alumni and students have formed a grassroots effort to investigate these claims. Through this process, it has become apparent that the current administration may be at the root of the problems at King. We want answers and we want a solution. As alumni, we are stakeholders in this university. The fact that we spent approximately $80,000 on our education means that we actually own a piece of the school and have the right and responsibility to react when we think the university is acting inappropriately. We share below what we currently know. It is an incomplete story, but we hope through open and honest dialogue between the administration, trustees, faculty, students, and alumni, we can complete it.

1. FACULTY ATTRITION There has been extensive faculty turnover over the last 15 years. As of today (1/31/14), there are 44 job openings listed on Kings website1, 31 of which are faculty positions. Seven faculty have been terminated in the last year (Graham, Dodge, Pollard, Carroll, Dollar, Stewart, Hale.) Eight faculty have been involuntarily removed from their chair or position (Fitsanakis, Quinn, Erickson, Vande Brake, Shaw, Kreiss, Remillard, Percy.) Five faculty/staff have left or announced they are leaving (Strang, Toomey, Trapp, Stephens, Mercure, King.) Dr. H. William Pollard, former director of both the MBA and BBA programs, taught at King College and then King University from 2005 to 2013. His account is as follows: I joined King College in 2005, to teach in Kings new MBA course offering. Later, I served as the MBA director and the BBA director. I became a full professor in my seventh year. I was always evaluated by the dean of the business school and always received a rating of Excellent. I had an annual review in fall of 2012 in which I received an excellent rating. I never received any additional or revised feedback until the day that I was terminated. My teacher evaluations were of some of the highest in the business school.

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What is Going on at King University and Why Should We Care? Concerned Alumni of King University February 2, 2014

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I worked closely with the dean of the school of business to develop the MBA and BBA course offering. I collaborated with colleagues on a paper published in March and two conference presentations to be made in Spring of 2013. In February 2013, I received a call at home from the secretary of the school of business and was told to come to the school of business deans office as quickly as possible. When I arrived, Benny Barry, security director at King, met me and told me I had to turn in my office key and prevented me from entering my office. I asked him what was happening. He told me that he would discuss that when I returned at 5:30 that afternoon. He told me that I would not be teaching any classes that evening and that I must leave campus immediately and that I needed return at 5:30 that evening and could clean out my personal things then. When I returned at 5:30, Benny met me in the reception area outside the deans office and said he could not discuss anything with me, but had a paper for me to sign. The paper outlined my immediate resignation in exchange for two months pay. This was February and my contract actually extended through July, but I signed the form anyway. They had me over a barrel. To have no income would have put us in a financial bind and I could not fight their lawyers. I was escorted off campus by security and told never to return. When I returned to the college that evening, I learned that my office had been cleaned out by uniformed security personnel, not maintenance personnel, during regular business hours in front of other faculty and staff. I was never given a reason for my dismissal. I do not believe my academic superior, the dean of the school of business, had any knowledge of what was happening when I came to his office on the day that I was dismissed. I certainly do not know any reasons that could have justified my termination. I always voiced my academic opinion, but at the department level. I raised some questions about the introduction of a new Accounting Major within the MBA program. The administration had proposed the new offering, but was not requiring any pre-qualifications in accounting to enter the program. This would have graduated students unqualified for higher-level accounting jobs. I thought we should require an accounting undergraduate degree to enter the program as to not embarrass unprepared graduates as they matriculated into the workforce. The worst part about losing my job is that I never had the opportunity to ask why I was dismissed or to appeal to a higher authority. I never had the chance to speak to my colleagues who saw me escorted out by security. It created an impression among the staff of the school of business that I had done something very wrong. Its almost unthinkable that an organization would do that. Dr. John Dodge, former director of the traditional undergrad business program and professor of economics, also agreed to share his account: I was one of those who was "transitioned." No advance notice of warning, no statement of cause at the time nor since then. The time was mid-semester, which did students no good. Obviously, new instructors were assigned and had to pick up the pieces mid-stream.

What is Going on at King University and Why Should We Care? Concerned Alumni of King University February 2, 2014

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I don't necessarily disagree with the strategic direction that Jordan wants to go. Many similar institutions are doing the same--adult, professional programs, online; looking for transfer students from community colleges to feed into bachelor completion. For some, it has made all the difference in survival. Done well, it can be just what smaller schools need. I have some opinions on how well Jordan does this sort of strategy, but the board should work on that In my case, I was in the second year of a three year contract, and pushed back. I demanded financial compensation, and received an increase in the amount that King offered to make me go away The last payment was December 31, and I am now old enough to collect social security. My goal was income rather than some form of revenge, or justice. I can retire, and chose to do so. Part of the agreement was to not speak out. Obviously, Jordan cannot withhold payment now. Why are the faculty at King leaving? A website has been set up that claims to be The Voice of Concerned Faculty and Staff at King University, and provides a perspective. It can be visited here: http://king1867.wordpress.com/. A comment that claims to come from one of those faculty members: The absolute worst thing for me as a faculty member since Dr. Jordans cloak of darkness (or is it rather incompetence?) descended on King 3-5 years ago, is this: the climate of fear, intimidation, and paranoia that has spread across this campus has driven divides in my relationships with most of my dearest friends. I have been either too exhausted, depressed, paranoid, or afraid to maintain these essential human connections. For that, I alone I am ultimately to blame, and I am deeply sorry. The vast majority of people in the faculty, on the staff, and in the administration are good, decent, loving people who have been beaten down by a dysfunctional set of circumstances If they are like me, the last few years have damaged my faith in God, in humanity, and myself. King is not just a work environment for most of us it is a calling from God that we can no more shake loose than our own family. If and when a change in leadership comes, I personally pledge that I will do everything in my power to reconcile with those Ive neglected or lost connection with. We will need to forgive, forget, and trust again. Our students deserve nothing less. -Anonymous2 In response to rumors of poor faculty treatment on campus, a faculty survey was conducted called King Faculty Voices.3 This alumni-conducted faculty survey was collected January 5 29, 2014.

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At King Damages My Faith In God, Says King Faculty, King 1867, January 30, 2014, http://king1867.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/climate-at-king-damages-my-faith-in-god-says-king-faculty/.

What is Going on at King University and Why Should We Care? Concerned Alumni of King University February 2, 2014

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The survey was conducted anonymously to protect identities of the respondents and drive participation. Survey Monkey provides IP address metadata to check for multiple responses from same source, so that check is in place. The response rate tracks closely to actual faculty numbers, and there is a variation in responses...some people report being satisfied, most do not. This survey, which continues to circulate, finds 61.3% of respondents feel unsupported in balancing teaching, institutional service, mentoring and research. Seventy-three percent (73%) are unhappy with compensation and 66% are unhappy with their benefits. Eighty-six percent (86%) disagree that faculty are involved adequately in major decisions that impact their work such as departmental reorganization or addition of programs. And sadly, more than 80% believe that King does not have the resources to attract and retain a strong faculty for the future. We have heard that some faculty feel they work in a culture of fear and intimidation. The King Faculty Voices Survey asked questions that hope to provide insight around this concern. Seventy-eight percent (78%) strongly disagreed with the statement I know I have the freedom to express my honest views about the direction of my department without worrying about reprisals or retaliation. When disagree and strongly disagree responses were totaled the number is a staggering 89%. Eighty-eight percent (88%) disagree or strongly disagree with the statement I have a high or very high level of trust in the senior leadership of my employer. What kind of environment are faculty and staff being forced to work in? One very troubling statement to come out of this survey is that 81% disagreed with the statement I am always free from external pressure when grading or evaluating my students. The alumni seek answers to these troubling allegations. Note: We will update this document as soon as we have permission of more departed faculty members to share their accounts publicly.

2. STRATEGIC FOCUS Over the years, King leadership has made significant missteps in pursuing its 1998 strategic plan. One such misstep was the Academy at King, chartered in 2008. The Academys stated mission was to empower students to reach full potential. While it is unclear how the expansion of Kings educational offering to pre-college students fit into a viable growth plan for King College, a 20,000 square foot building was completed in 2011 to house this extension of the King College brand. In March 2013, the Academy announced it would be closing its doors due to

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http://kingvoices.com/; (87 Survey N = 45 Survey Response rate 52%, Question response rate 100%) Co-Authors Jess Mahone, PhD., Katy Stigers, MA, Heather Whitney, Ph.D.

What is Going on at King University and Why Should We Care? Concerned Alumni of King University February 2, 2014

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economic failure.4 The Academy at King could not attract the 50 students it needed annually to keep its doors open. According to King Universitys 2012 990-statement, King assumed a $1.5 Million note for the construction of the building. In 2008, King also announced intentions to create a school of medicine and received a $25 Million grant from Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission to help fund the medical school. When the Commission exited a $10 Million partial funding agreement in December of 2012, King was forced to look for funds elsewhere and established a corporate entity to lead and fundraise for the medical school. At that point, King stepped back from its involvement in the future of the medical school at substantial cost to the institution.5 Certainly, there is a shift in academia away from liberal arts education to more pre-profession models of education. King has embraced an online delivery model as well. This is based on the changing needs of students, new advances in technology and a response to economic and industry employment needs. With so much emphasis on the online delivery method, one concern is that King has not invested properly in the infrastructure needed to build a successful online offering. According to a member of Kings IT department, writing for King 1867 under the nomme de plume of Firewall, I have never in my career worked for an organization that was so lacking in IT resources while overreaching so much that the very integrity of its system was under constant threat of complete collapse The best way to understand this is simple take the derelict state of Kings buildings, demolish the roofs and strip them of all plumbing and wiring. What youll get is basically the state of our IT infrastructure right now. The size of our staff is less than a third of what it should be for an operation the size of King [University]especially when you add the online programs. Most of us were hired less than 16 months ago, and when we arrived we were appalled by the lack of basic planning for IT infrastructure. No IT metrics were captured and disseminated, there was no analysis of user needs. The most worrying thing of all was that absolutely no thought had been given to the capacity that we needed to buy in order to facilitate the frantic pace of president Jordans King University Online planSo we jumped into this online teaching project completely unprepared.6

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The Academy At King To Close At The End Of The Year, WJHL, Mar 27, 2013, (http://www.wjhl.com/story/21807453/the-academy-at-king-to-close-at-the-end-of-the-year) 5 Future Of King School Of Medicine Rests On Newly Established, Independent Corporation, Bristol Herald Courier, Dec. 20, 2012, (http://www.tricities.com/news/article_c731f4c5-de28-54f8-b47802d3190d91b0.html?mode=jqm)

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Desperate Message From Kings IT Department, King 1867, Jan. 32, 2014, (http://king1867.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/a-message-from-kings-it-department/)

What is Going on at King University and Why Should We Care? Concerned Alumni of King University February 2, 2014

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Interested in assessing the financial health of our alma mater, we have made requests to King University for financial statements. According to King Universitys 990 to the IRS, King makes financial statements available upon request. However, we have not been granted access to the records. Until such records are provided, we do not have an accurate picture as to whether or not claims as to the financial health of the University made by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees are correct. It is our understanding that the Board of Trustees have called in an auditor to take a look at the Universitys financial records. We are encouraged that the Board is actively investigating the financial records of our alma mater. We, the Concerned Alumni of King University, insist this auditor be an independent third-party, unaffiliated with any of the members of the Office of the President, current Administration, or Board of Trustees.

3. ABUSE OF POWER According to the King College Faculty Handbook (Revised July 2011), almost every decision ultimately lies with the Office of the President. There are hardly enough checks and balances in place to prevent abuses of power, but those which are in place are being ignored. For instance, Article 3.1.5 of the King College Faculty Handbook (Revised July 2011) outlines meetings of the faculty. Point 5 states that Proposed changes in educational policies must be circulated to the Faculty two days in advance of the meeting at which they are to be presented, provided that the foregoing requirement of prior circulation may be suspended by a three-fourths vote of those in attendance. It has been widely reported that Faculty do not experience inclusion when it comes to making academic decisions or changes to educational policies. There are interested parties who are current or previous members of King Universitys administration who are meeting with the Trustees to present a detailed account of Dr. Jordans abuses of power over the last 15 years. While we do not have access to these allegations, we are hopeful that the Board of Trustees of King University take these allegations seriously and agree to investigate the claims made.

4. TRANSPARENCY On Friday, January 31, 2014, in an interview with WCVB News 5, Dr. Jordan said: We've been very proactive in engaging this, speaking with students, faculty, alumni and trustees, all of which I think is very normal in this environment."7

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King University Faculty Worried About Job Security, WCYB, Jan. 31 2014, (http://m.wcyb.com/news/king-university-faculty-worried-about-job-security/-/21997070/24227238//1vp75e/-/index.html)

What is Going on at King University and Why Should We Care? Concerned Alumni of King University February 2, 2014

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However, according to Andre Latimore, President for Kings Student Government Association, the Administration has chosen to skip student-led forums to ask questions and instead require students to voice their concerns via email. King has also been stifling honest discourse on social media, removing posts and blocking users for expressing negative viewpoints of the college and asking too many questions. It is unknown if this is the policy of the members of the Media and Marketing department at King or if it is the directive of the President himself. Comments on the Universitys Facebook page have been removed and users blocked. The @KingCollegeTN Twitter handle, after being the subject of many negative tweets, has been restricted. The administrator for the King University Alumni Association on LinkedIn is removing conversations meant to create awareness amongst alumni. While many colleges and universities publically post the members of the board of trustees along with a description of the responsibilities of those trustees on their websites, King does not. In fact, it has been made known that Kings trustees do not have each others contact information and are not encouraged to communicate with each other. According to King Universitys 990 statements to the IRS, King makes financial statements available upon request. However, CPA alumni have been requesting these documents and have not been granted access to the records. We have all heard reference to the 1998 Strategic Plan that was again updated in 2008. Unfortunately, attempts to view this plan have been unsuccessful.

5. ROLE OF ALUMNI In his Ethics, Dietrich Bonhoeffer tells us that, "The man who acts in the freedom of his own most personal responsibility is precisely the man who sees his action finally committed to the guidance of God." As stakeholders who have invested in King University and been shaped by faculty members who now have asked for our help as interested parties, we have an obligation to question the leadership of King University. We have a lot at stake. If findings of the Faculty Voices Survey are accurate, and faculty truly are prevented from assigning accurate grades for academic performance, this needs to be investigated. If faculty are being dismissed inappropriately and in ways that do not align with the policies set forth in the Faculty Handbook, there needs to be an investigation. If unqualified professionals are being installed in positions of academic authority because of their allegiance to Greg Jordan and qualified faculty being removed from those positions because of their questioning of certain changes made in a pursuit of a new academic vision for the institution, this needs to be addressed. We have a voice. We can take action. If any of these concerns resonate with you, join in a movement to capture the attention of the Board of Trustees and get them to investigate the validity of these claims.

What is Going on at King University and Why Should We Care? Concerned Alumni of King University February 2, 2014

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Steps to Take: The most effective way to participate is to write a letter to the Board of Trustees, demanding an investigation and a public, open dialogue. You can email your letter to the Board of Trustees at King.alumni.voice@gmail.com. Our letters are being mailed to each individual Trustee in hopes that our concerns reach them uncensored. Visit these links for more information: http://king1867.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/213/#more-213 https://www.facebook.com/wearenotasleep Share this document with your fellow alumni and encourage them to educate themselves on the concerns that are known and join us in asking the Board of Trustees to investigate the claims that we do not know. Withhold financial support of the institution until changes in leadership have been made. Once changes are adopted and a new administration is actively pursuing a vision that will sustain King University in a manner that aligns with her mission, your financial support will be critical to boosting this course correction. Finally, pray. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5. Thank you, Concerned Alumni of King University ###