The vast majority of the story is pretty garden-variety, containing significant but not surprising information that would be of interest only to the immediate Liberty family. But this little paragraph near the end caught my eye:
Liberty is also accredited through another agency. The Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) has been accrediting schools since 1991, and some historically unaccredited schools, such as Bob Jones University, have recently been accredited through it.The question that immediately entered my mind was, "Why in the world would folks at Liberty want to refer to BJU in a story about its own accreditation?" Obviously, I don't have the answer, but it seems clear that the students at Liberty want to highlight their school's new relationship to BJU that's been generated through BJU's recent TRACS accreditation.
So what? Well, I know a few BJU alumni who don't even like to talk about their relationship with BJU too much, but to my knowledge those alumni were never called "the most dangerous man in America," as Bob Jones Jr. is widely reported to have spoken about Jerry Falwell, Liberty's President back in 1980. The upshot is that it seems clear to me not only that BJU has something to gain from its new relationship with TRACS, but also that Liberty believes it has something to gain from its new relationship with BJU. I think it's fair to say that in many fields, BJU is the gold standard for academic achievement and polished professionalism among Christian colleges and universities. Apparently, there are motivations for Liberty to exploit this association for its own benefit, and as best I can tell, students or alumni or administration have every right to do so. I think this is evidence for the point that I made almost two years ago:
What is not surprising is that TRACS has seen fit to extend candidate status to BJU. There can be no doubt that the academic reputation of BJU will actually increase TRACS' own credibility rather than vice versa, which would seem to be a more conventional objective of academic accreditation. At least two knowledgeable sources said that TRACS lobbied BJU to pursue membership in the 1980s, but BJU was not interested. What is so surprising is the fact that BJU pursuing accreditation at all. This development presents the opportunity to consider accreditation as a case study in the changing face of ecclesiastical separation.