Two members of the Board of Trustees at Azusa Pacific University have resigned, charging that the evangelical Christian university in California has drifted from its mission.
Trustees Raleigh Washington and Dave Dias submitted resignation letters last week because of concerns about faculty members and administrators promoting progressive ideology, The Christian Post reported. Washington is president of Promise Keepers, a male evangelical movement, and Dias is a business executive.
The conservative site WND published comments from the two resigning trustees. Washington said the university’s board has failed to hold its leaders accountable and become complicit in “disobedient behavior” by faculty members promoting progressive ideology at odds with Azusa Pacific’s principles and statement of faith. Dias said he has “deep concerns about the long-term viability of APU as a ‘God-first’ university.”
Azusa Pacific’s board chair, David Poole, responded with a statement.
“The board is firmly committed to upholding the biblical values that undergird the university and it will not waver in providing leadership toward our Christ-centered mission,” it said. “We recognize that disagreements can arise even between people who share the same goals and convictions. Despite the assertions made by those who resigned, the board stands united in our commitment to our evangelical Christian identity.”
Azusa Pacific previously found itself the center of ideological controversy in recent months after it published a revised statement on human sexuality that did not forbid same-sex romances for abstinent couples. Advocates for LGBT rights lauded the move, but the university reversed course after only a few weeks. It reinstated a clause saying “Students may not engage in a romanticized same-sex relationship.” At the time, the Board of Trustees said it had never approved the changes.
The university had already entered a period of leadership transition after Jon R. Wallace in April announced plans to become president emeritus. The change was slated for the summer of 2019, and a presidential search is under way. Wallace has led the university since 2000.
Azusa Pacific also faces pressure on the financial front, with Moody’s Investors Service downgrading its bond rating by a notch into junk territory in September. The ratings agency raised concerns about weakening operating performance, problems meeting a debt covenant and weak internal reporting and expense control processes.