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Christian Ohio Valley University Decides To Close After Not Meeting Payroll

Trustees of Ohio Valley University in Vienna, West Virginia, have voted to close the 63-year-old Christian university.

OVU, which is associated with Churches of Christ, informed students, faculty and staff today (Dec. 8) of the decision not to offer classes in the spring 2022 semester, President Michael Ross confirmed to The Christian Chronicle.

“We strive to be an institution that conducts business with integrity while being good stewards of our resources,” Ross said. “Our current situation precludes us from doing that. I am proud of what we have accomplished and the changes we made to preserve the mission of the school. We hold our heads high knowing we did the right things for the right reasons.”

In a text message, he added, “As we struggled through this process, we have focused on the following Scripture: ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.’ Proverbs 3:5-6.”

OVU is working on a plan to help seniors finish their education at other schools, Ross said. The university hopes to offer a college fair Friday. Total enrollment had dipped below 200.

Last week, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission posted a Dec. 10 meeting agenda with a resolution urging revocation of OVU’s authorization to confer degrees in the state, effective June 30, 2022. That resolution was scheduled to be considered this Friday.

Ross said OVU informed the state commission and the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States, of its decision.

An in-depth story in The Christian Chronicle last Friday detailed the financial challenges facing OVU and noted that payroll hadn’t been met in months as debt piled up.

This story was published at Religion UnPlugged. It is reprinted with permission. 

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Cheryl Mann Bacon

Cheryl Mann Bacon served for 20 years as chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at Abilene Christian University. In retirement, she is enjoying freelance writing and consulting, especially with churches.