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Christian NYC college fights for survival after accreditation loss

Accreditor referenced ‘the institution being in imminent danger of closing’

The King’s College, a conservative Christian liberal arts institution in lower Manhattan, struggles to find a way forward amidst accreditation loss, fall class closures and financial hardship.

The valedictorian of the Kings College class of 2019 defended the institution in a Wednesday email to The College Fix. 

“There will never be another school like The King’s College,” alumna Elle Rogers said.

“It’s where I fell in love with ideas for the first time, where I learned to cherish the Good, and where I came to understand the importance of fighting for our tradition,” Rogers said.

The school’s Board of Trustees has “work[ed] diligently to explore multiple options to continue the College’s distinctive mission,” according to a recent announcement posted to the school’s website. “As a result of these exhaustive efforts, we are currently in advanced discussions with another Christian university regarding an educational and operational partnership.”

“We still need additional funds to finish our course or move forward,” the board wrote.

The College Fix reached out twice to Director of Marketing and Communications Katelyn Tamm to ask for the name of the Christian university with whom Kings hopes to partner and any other general comment. The Fix has not received a response.

The college announced in a July email to the school that it will not offer classes for the fall semester, multiple Christian and secular news outlets reported.

“This decision comes after months of diligently exploring numerous avenues to enable the College to continue its mission,” the school wrote, according to Religion News Service. The message shared its “regret” in this same message that some personnel would lose their jobs.

The Fix reached out to listed Kings College Professor Robert Carle and former Professor Dru Johnson to ask them whether their positions will be eliminated and their hopes for the futures of the college.

Professor Johnson is now a visiting associate professor at Hope College in Michigan, according to his Academia.edu profile and his website.

Neither responded to the inquiry as of Wednesday.

The college’s decision to shutter classes comes on the heels of a May 26 statement from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, a U.S. Department of Education-recognized accreditor, announcing its revocation of the school’s accreditation.

In justifying its decision to revoke the accreditation, which will bar it from dispensing financial aid, the commission noted the school’s “failure to demonstrate the capacity to make required improvements.”

The commission also expressed doubt that Kings “can sustain itself in the short or long term” and referenced “the institution being in imminent danger of closing.”

While The King’s College initially had the right to repeal the revocation of its accreditation, the commission announced on July 27 that the school “is no longer operational with students actively enrolled as of the fall term of 2023, which is a requirement of affiliation for all institutions.”

“This closure terminates The King’s College’s appeal of the May 26, 2023, adverse action to withdraw accreditation,” according to the notice.

In February, students living in the school’s Brooklyn-based housing received eviction notices following King’s alleged failure to pay rent on the building.  The students were not evicted, but the school apparently broke its lease with the building management company in May, according to The Brooklyn Paper.

A recent alumni described other challenges in an email to The Fix.

“My demanding upper-level coursework was often overshadowed by the College’s situations,” according to Graeme Straughn, who graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in politics, philosophy, and economics.

“By May, I was emotionally and physically exhausted,” Straughn said. “The Class of 2023’s time at King’s began with the COVID pandemic and ended with the College’s financial crisis.”

However, Straughn also expressed gratitude and hope for the college’s future.

“The whole situation forced me to confront institutional uncertainty in a way I never had before,” he wrote.” It’s given me language for and experience of anxiety, hope, and service in spite of current circumstances.”

“For both New York and Christian higher education’s sake, I hope that the Board of Trustees and the remaining staff and faculty can find a way to keep King’s open,” Straughn said. “America needs a distinctly Christian liberal arts education.”

MORE: Influential conservative think tank calls on Congress to reform college accreditation

IMAGE: The Kings College

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Declan Hurley, a North Carolina numismatist, is a student of economics at the University of Chicago. He is the vice president of the Chicago Thinker, UChicago's right-of-center student journal.