King’s College will not close despite staff layoffs and cancelling fall classes

The only evangelical Christian college in New York City has decided to keep the door open to strategic partnerships and appeal its loss of accreditation.

“It is with regret we share that our faculty and staff positions will be reduced or eliminated.”

That’s the message members of the “King’s Community” received in an email on Monday, which also announced King’s College’s intent not to offer classes in the upcoming fall semester, according to Religion News Service.

When a college announces that it’s eliminating its faculty and staff positions and discontinuing classes in the upcoming academic year, it sounds like a death knell. To add more assurance, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), King’s College’s accrediting body, stripped its accreditation, citing “the institution has failed to demonstrate that it can sustain itself in the short or long term.”

However, the email maintained that “this is not a decision to close The King’s College permanently.” Despite shutting down its operations this fall and losing its accreditation, the only evangelical Christian college in New York City is not raising the white flag. Instead, it’s decided to keep the door open to strategic partnerships and appeal its loss of accreditation.

King’s College’s decision to remain open despite its overt challenges is the latest in a string of head-scratching announcements dating back to last year.

In August, President Tim Gibson resigned in a “surprise announcement” that offered no definitive reason. Former Chairman Stockwell Day reportedly wrote in an email that “we just felt the time for change . . . was now,” according to The Roys Report. Additionally, the college’s venture into “an educational and operational partnership” with another Christian college in May temporarily lifted the community’s spirit about its future. However, news on these “advanced discussions” has since died and doesn’t appear to have reaped any results.

King’s College’s opaque communication lines in the face of a looming closure and significant leadership changes seem to have caused frustration.

“The lack of transparency from this administration has lots of students, including myself, questioning the integrity of the school as a whole and the truth of the financial situation,” said sophomore Kayleigh Burrell, according to the Empire State Tribune.

A string of financial blows has contributed to the school’s problems. Its proposed spring fundraiser fell $1.2 million short of its $2.6 million goal. Additionally, a financial venture with a controversial for-profit company has proven disastrous, scaring donors away and shaking up the King’s College board. The college has been unable to cull consistent capital since the deaths of Helen and Richard Devos in 2017 and 2018, who had donated millions to the school, such as their $7.5 million donation in 2013.

In March, landlords began threatening King’s College students with eviction due to rent payments missed by the college.

Despite the college’s fight to remain open, staff and faculty took a pragmatic approach this past spring semester. At a Monday meeting preceding the school’s public announcement, Biblical literature professor Dru Johnson gave the odds of the school closing or remaining open “50/50” odds, according to Religion News Service. King’s College did seem to communicate faculty severance packages “clearly and concisely,” which drew their appreciation. Similarly, staff and faculty have been helping students transfer.

More from UB: Are Northwestern’s recent athletic firings indicative of a deeper problem?

Alcino Donadel
Alcino Donadel
Alcino Donadel is a UB staff writer and first-generation journalism graduate from the University of Florida. He has triple citizenship from the U.S., Ecuador and Brazil.

Most Popular