The interim president and longtime board chairman of Vanguard University of Southern California quit last week, with at least one of the resignations coming at the request of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, an accrediting agency.
Vanguard, a Christian, liberal-arts institution with a $53-million annual budget, was carrying $42-million in debt in 2006, according to its tax filing. The university received a warning about its precarious finances in a December report by the accreditor, according to The Orange County Register.
“There are a number of very serious issues they need to address — finances and leadership being among them,” Ralph A. Wolff, the association’s president, told the newspaper.
T. Ray Rachels, chairman of Vanguard’s Board of Trustees for 21 years, said he had resigned at Mr. Wolff’s request, the newspaper reported. The university last week announced the departures of Mr. Rachels and Wayne Kraiss, the interim president since October, who had served a previous, 25-year stint as Vanguard’s president.
In a written statement, university officials said they were taking the accreditor’s concerns seriously. And while confirming that the university’s debt load was “high relative to its budget and does present a significant challenge,” the officials said “budget adjustments have been and will continue to be made as required.”
University leaders are scheduled to present a plan of action to the accreditor on February 19. —Paul Fain