October 29, 2019
Dear CCU Family and Friends –
On behalf of the Trustees of Cincinnati Christian University, I sincerely apologize for the situation we are in and for how our communication of the cessation of academic operations may have caused confusion and pain.
CCU has experienced a steady decline in enrollment since 2004 which has forced every Board of Trustees since that time to make tough decisions with pure intentions to right the ship. In the last season, we have sought out and talked with a great number of schools for potential merger opportunities which unfortunately have not worked out. The challenges for small private colleges in our country are great and have led a significant number to close over the last decade. Sadly, we find ourselves in the same situation.
First, our situation at hand. The Board of Trustees regrets deeply that we have had to make the decision to cease our academic operations. Going into the Fall 2019 semester, our administration had a solid and aggressive plan to address the expectations of the show-cause order we were placed on by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Much progress was being made and I credit our faculty and staff for their actions. Unfortunately, we did not hit our enrollment projections and needs when classes started in August which caused a significant short-fall financially. If we had hit our goals, which were attainable prior to the show-cause order, we would have continued the progress we were making financially. The financial short-fall led to our need to request more financial assistance from our lending institution. The bank, who has been very helpful and patient with CCU over the years, could no longer commit any more funds to CCU going forward. Our lack of resources put our ability to operate in serious jeopardy, assured us that we would not meet the financial expectations of the HLC, and ultimately led to the painful decision to cease academic operations moving forward. Note that part of the plan to satisfy the show-cause order was to have partner schools in place, prepared to accept our students in the event accreditation would be discontinued after June 2020. This is why we already have these agreements in place in our current situation and why others are being added.
Second, how we communicated this information. All of this happened in a very short time frame which is why this information was communicated this past week. We want to honor the expectations of the HLC as we wind down operations so that every student finishes this semester with no issues with their credits. The HLC requires the information to be rolled out in a specific way which is what we were trying to honor. Our plan was to meet with the staff and faculty as this information was released publicly. Tuesday would be the first gathering of the students to address their feelings and help them process next steps. In retrospect, we should have gathered the students immediately after the faculty and staff on Monday evening. I apologize that we did not do this. Going forward, we will continue to keep the FAQ sheet updated on the website and will assist every student individually to help them make the best decision for their next step in their education.
As a CCU alum, along with many of our Trustees who share that same honor, these decisions have been extremely painful. We wanted more than anything for CCU to not only survive, but to thrive into the future making an impact for Christ on the Kingdom. Each of us agreed to serve and invest in CCU to help her turn the corner into the new generation of training Kingdom workers. We sincerely apologize that were unable to make this happen. We let you down and we are deeply sorry.
Our goal now is to help all of our students make a smooth transition into the next chapter of their education. We are grateful for all of our partner schools and we are very grateful and encouraged by the partnership with Central Christian College of the Bible who will continue the mission of CCU in the Cincinnati region. CCCB’s immediate reaction to our challenging financial reality has been remarkable. In all of the sadness of the current reality, this is a bright light of hope for the future of training Church leaders. This is why there was hope even in the midst of sadness of the announcement to cease academic operations.
There are many rumors and opinions circulating which we understand is natural. All of our Trustees are available to address any questions you have regarding these rumors. One specific rumor which needs to be addressed is that any Trustee has benefitted or will benefit financially from our service at CCU. We have never and will never receive any benefit, payment, salary, or financial gain from our service at CCU. President Ron Heineman has served as a Trustee and currently serves as President has never taken a salary, has traveled the country on behalf of CCU at his own expense, and will not gain financially from any of his service at CCU in the future.
We want to thank our amazing students who have invested their lives at CCU. We are proud that you are part of the CCU legacy. We thank our faculty and staff for being hard working, faithful servants of our students. You’ve endured a tremendous struggle and made incredible sacrifices for CCU. We wish we could have celebrated you in a spectacular way. You deserve better. Thank you to every donor, supporter, and alumnus for caring and supporting CCU over her life. You’ve invested in millions of people coming to Christ and that is never going to be forgotten.
In closing, we regret that we have not been able to make you more proud of CCU and our leadership. However, we should all be proud of CCU’s great legacy. We are sorry for the impact that our decisions have made on you and your loved ones.
Chris Hahn on behalf of the Board of Trustees, CCU