Catholics & Chiropractors
The Disgraced Defenders of the Faith
“I do not think the academics of this university are deficient. The program at Life University is far beyond many of the accredited universities. Students get a superior education.”–Big $id Williams, AJC, 6-14-02
“A report submitted in May to the Council on Chiropractic Education shows Life students trailed behind the national average in each section of the National Board Part I exam administered in spring 2001…In the anatomy portion of the exam, 83 percent of Life students passed on a first attempt, 7 percent below the national mean. Students also trailed behind their peers in the physiology, chemistry, pathology and public health portions, the report shows.” AJC, 6-15-02
Sadly, or should I say, expectedly, Big $id remains in serious denial over the status of his “superior” diploma mill. As his Sydneyland empire crumbles, $id continues to spin his misinformation to his yearning masses. Sort of reminds one of Castro trying to convince the good folks in Cuba that nothing is wrong, everything is just fine, and communism is still the best way to live.
While much of the chiropractic profession smiles as the ship of Life sinks with its captain on board, knowing full well that Life has been a pirates’ haven for other chiropractic colleges’ dropouts, ideological misfits, convicted felons, and wannabe millionaires more focused on the Money Hum than on rendering quality chiropractic primary care, the situation at Life has taken on a circus-like atmosphere with revival rallies and a call to arms from its wounded captain.
The mismanagement of Life’s loss of accreditation is astounding considering it had an entire year to change course to correct the concerns of CCE. Yet Life’s admiralty stayed the course with an “I dare you” attitude to these concerns, even to the point where Big $id lobbied against a state bill that would have allowed his students to fulfill CCE’s demand for diagnostic testing. His arrogance, his denial, and his stubbornness were his downfall—he has no one to blame but himself when he refused to change course and finally crashed on the shoals of accountability.
This mismanagement of Life seems to parallel the mismanagement of the Catholic Church to its own sex scandals when the church first covered it up, acted arrogantly as if it were above the law and decided to handle it internally by shuttling pedophile priests, accused the victims for the problem, then turned a blind eye on its own perpetrators and administrative errors. Arrogance, denial and stubbornness will lead to costly settlements for the church, and it may also for Big $id and his Life when the lawsuits begin to roll in from disgruntled students.
For one who’s labeled himself with the moniker of the “Defender of Chiropractic,” this fall from academic grace in front of not only the entire profession, but in the press in his beloved hometown of Atlanta, has been a serious affront to the Lasting Legacy of Big $id. Realistically, this man and his gang of cohorts have made a mockery of chiropractic education, operating the largest diploma mill this profession will ever see, riddled with student loan scandals, inferior student board exam rates, inflated executive salaries for a supposed non-profit organization, in a repressive atmosphere more akin to a gulag than an institution of higher learning in America.
Indeed, $id’s faith-based chirovangelism education seems a far cry in many ways from the secular public and private educational standards espoused by mainstream academia that have made American higher education the best in the world. Instead, $id created a renowned diploma mill, dumb-downed chiro education, and reveled in the opulence never before seen in higher education. Life was a time bomb ready to explode and, ironically, Big $id pulled the trigger himself.
“After almost a week spent below the radar, Williams made his first public comments Thursday about his school’s loss of accreditation. In an event that often seemed more like a gospel revival than a student assembly, Williams attempted to rally student support for the school and the chiropractic profession.” MDJ online, 6-14-02
According to a student at that assembly, $id made this into a “fight for chiropractic principles pep rally. They had guest speakers [DE dudes] come and had people creating a fuss about how we have to fight this, then he said that ‘all of you people who leave are cowards!’” Cowards or pragmatists, $id? Why go down with a sinking ship?
“This is not a war against Life University,” he said. “It’s a war against chiropractic, and I want you to remember that…Remember this,” he told several hundred in the Life gymnasium Sunday. “It ain’t over til it’s over.” AJC, 6-17-02
Rather than admitting his brand of outdated chirovangelism that eschews primary care physician responsibilities, or the fact that he operates a college with overly-crowded classrooms with too few competent instructors, espouses a routine cookie-cutter subluxation-only diagnosis in his under-regulated student clinics, and subscribes openly to nepotism with greed and cronyism reigning supreme in his administration, $id’s camouflage of the real issues is obviously designed to hoodwink students and sycophantic followers. Fortunately, not all chiropractors and officials are fooled by his spin.
“Linda Denham, a past president of the Georgia Board of Chiropractic Examiners, [and Life grad] pointed to the below-average passing rates of students on the national exams. ‘All you have to do is look at the numbers,’ she said. ‘The numbers don’t lie. The numbers don’t have a philosophy.’” AJC, 6-15-02
While many students are led to believe differently—that the profession of chiropractic is under attack—when, in effect, only $id’s brand of inferior chiropractic education and his suspect administrative methods are the real issues. The fact that some Lifers and students still rally around Big $id as his college of cards begins to crumble illustrates the intense “programming” that he is renown for with his dogmatic “principled” chirovangelism.
“Student Stef Fortney said the issue is bigger than Life. ‘It’s not our school, it’s chiropractic being attacked,’ she said. ‘We fall, they all fall.’” AJC, 6-14-02
Not so quick, Ms. Fortney, because not all chiro colleges fall into the same category of educational ill repute. But it’s clear that $id and his spinmeisters have advanced the notion that this is an attack on chiropractic rather than just his deficient program at Life.
“Williams urged the graduates, who included his son John, to ‘love, serve and give.’ That formula, he said, will lead to material and spiritual wealth…
Valedictorian Shernette Daley made no mention of accreditation during her speech. She thanked the administration and faculty and called Life ‘the most prestigious chiropractic institution in the entire world.’” AJC, 6-17-02
“…the most prestigious chiropractic institution in the entire world”? Well, Ms. Daley, just what have you been smokin’? Maybe the most notorious chiro college ever, but no one will ever consider Life a prestigious scholarly environment more interested in quality than quantity. When Big $id and his mesmerized $idiots refer to themselves as “principled,” I have to question: what principle is that—greediness, duplicity, cultism, or the Money Hum? Don’t get me started on the irony and hypocrisy of that delusion—the last thing I would call Big $id is principled.
Sadly, as Life burns and Big $id fiddles around playing his blame game, too many awestruck students have drank from his grapes of wrath to deny the obvious issues, deluding themselves by placing blame on the Great CCEatan instead of the failings of Life’s leadership. Now that the disgraced Defender of Chiropractic has shown some holes in his armor, his tactic has shifted to being the martyr under attack from the evil politicos who want to assail his Sydneyland.
“Standing atop a concrete planter at the Federal Building, Drew Rubin
said this is a historic moment for the science. ‘Years from you’ll ask:
Did chiropractic survive in 2002?” he said.’” AJC, 6-14-02
First of all, Mr. Rubin, chiropractic will survive, but $id’s brand of ol’ time 1950s chiropractic technician education may not in a CCE-accredited college nowadays. Conversely, many mainstream DCs may feel that this represents a return to sanity in 2002 when CCE (and hopefully SACS) finally dropped the axe on $id’s diploma mill shenanigans. This attempt by $id to misinform his students by vilifying the accrediting agencies, all other “mixer” chiropracTOID colleges, the ACA, the medical world, anyone who opposes his brand of metaphysical chiropractic, and the press that has asked him to resign typifies the spin we see in other organizations now under attack—blame everyone but themselves.
Masters of Misinformation
Hearing these Life students is eerily similar to watching the young Muslim children in their schools, repeatedly genuflecting on their knees as they chant the Koran and death to the infidels. While these Islam nations live in dire situations with poverty and the lack of freedoms or civil rights, they are obviously mislead by religious fanatical fundamentalists as they preach their ideology of hate against all in the name of Allah, of course. These are the origins of suicide-bombers who willing give up their lives to perpetuate the warfare that has torn their region apart for centuries.
Indeed, radical fundamentalism is a problem when fanatics take their “cause” to heart, wrap themselves in the banner of righteousness, spellbound their youth and followers to an anti-social ideology, then spin their hate-filled misinformation to mislead and to provoke a negative reaction to the truth. This is exactly what we now see at Life.
For $id to tell students and alumni that “This is not a war against Life University, it’s a war against chiropractic,” is pure bunk! After all, Sherman has passed, Palmer has passed, and Parker College passed its CCE inspection with accolades. For $id to suggest this is an attack on straight chiropractic is pure deception of the truth. Perhaps his new moniker should be the Deceiver of Life since he has a hard time telling the truth to his students and supporters.
Big $id and his spinmeisters portray this accreditation rebuke as an attack on the straight chiropractic faction rather than simply an honest evaluation of his inferior brand of education and suspect management, as noted in a recent newspaper article. In fact, as $id spins this as a political issue, the authorities maintain it is purely a professional matter.
“The CCE maintains that four academic issues, and not Williams’ role at the university, were the only reasons for Life being stripped of its accreditation last Friday. The four issues, outlined in the letter sent to Life officials, include the need for better diagnostic and clinical training, an inadequate staff-to-student ratio, the need for better staff oversight of students after graduation and other issues concerning the administration of the university.” MDJ online, 6-14-02
In his attempt to portray this as political, Big $id has now dragged the ICA into this fray with his sidekick, DD Humber, issuing his spin on this matter:
“In the meantime, be assured that all possible avenues available will be pursued in a determined good-faith effort to resolve this critical issue… these important educational issues that Life and its allies will continue to work for quality chiropractic education.” — “e-facts” report from the ICA president, DD Humber, DC, FICA, 6-14-02 (emphasis added)
For DD Humber to use the words “good faith” and “quality education” in regards to this situation illustrates the denial these Life executives continue to show the folks at CCE and SACS. $id’s spinmeisters continue to weave their unholy account of this situation, no doubt only adding to their own demise by showing their continued bad faith; I doubt their obfuscation is impressing CCE or will help in their appeal. “Good faith” and “quality chiropractic education” in regards to Sydneyland—ironic, indeed!
Won the Battle, but Lost the War
What hasn’t been mentioned publicly but may have been a huge factor in the CCE’s decision was the recent legislative effort to include the CCE criteria into Georgia state law to enable students to fulfill the diagnostics issue. As previously reported, members of the Georgia Board of Chiropractic Examiners went before the Georgia Assembly to request an upgrading of our scope bill to include CCE criteria in order to save the college as well as to improve our scope. Rather than supporting this effort so Life could fulfill the diagnostic requirements of CCE, Big $id testified against it along with the support of the Georgia Chiropractic Council. This move may have turned out to be his downfall in the eyes of the CCE as a clear show of bad faith and contempt to fulfill its concerns.
Big Sid incited the fears of some legislators by stating that this bill would allow DCs to encroach upon the medical domain, playing right into the hands of our medical nemesis, the Medical Association of Georgia. The GBCE president, Dr. Mark Cotney, told the hearing members if this bill weren’t passed, then Life might lose its accreditation. In effect, without the ability to fulfill the primary care provisions of CCE to do diagnostics, Georgia cannot host a CCE-accredited chiropractic college.
When asked if this were true and if he had any fears of losing his accreditation, Big $id reportedly told the legislators, “I won’t lose my accreditation ‘cause I pay ‘em too much money, ya folla?” In other words, Big $id shot himself in the foot with this one, stupid move. He not only thwarted the GBCE bill, he insulted and impugned the COA. Indeed, in his attempt to spite the GBCE and CCE, he cut off his own nose!
While Big $id and his GCC sycophants gloated at this hallow victory after the hearing, little did they know they may have sealed their fate.
“Thanks go out to those members who assumed responsibility and acted by writing letters to the committee representatives. Several letters were quoted from during the hearing and used to keep chiropractic sacred. This will not be the last time chiropractic will come under attack, but rest assured the GCC will be watching out for its members.” GCC news release, 2-15-02
“…to keep chiropractic sacred”? Of course, this is simply nonsense and a smokescreen by the GCC and Life folks to camouflage their real intent to thwart CCE’s criteria and Georgia state law for diagnostic responsibilities of a PCP. Rather than helping the GBCE and GCA to pass this bill that would have allowed students and DCs to fulfill their responsibilities as PCPs, Big $id and his GCC testified against it. While $id may have won that battle, in the end he lost the war when he openly worked in obvious bad faith to thwart this move that would have allowed his students to meet CCE requirements.
“That’s them talking, not me!”
Just as the leaders of the Catholic church may have class actions suits filed against them for their cover-up and mismanagement of the pedophile priests, the same question can be raised by consumers at large and students at Life who may have been damaged by being poorly trained at Life caused by an administration and board of trustees who mismanaged this accreditation process and opposed the CCE criteria to graduate PCPs.
Although Life administrators had over a year to correct these problems cited by CCE, $id fought against them, so much so that Dr. Keith Asplin resigned the very next week after Life’s meeting with the GBCE. At the end of the meeting between Life and GBCE officials, Dr. Williams announced that he was bailing out and refused to support the GBCE’s new scope bill. “I just want you to know that I don’t necessarily agree with them (his deans and faculty) about this diagnosis thing—that’s them talking, not me!” he supposedly told the GBCE and his stunned administrators. Obviously you can’t teach an old dawg new tricks, even if it means surviving in the junkyard.
Indeed, if Life stands openly against producing PCPs as it appears from Big $id’s actions and comments, is this not a bait-and-switch situation for Life students who paid hefty tuitions expecting to become chiropractic PCPs? If class action lawsuits don’t materialize from the many Lifers who’ve failed their licensure exams, or those who now can’t sit for state exams, or who realize their PCP incompetence, it would be short of miraculous.
There was no way Life would ever have passed the muster with $id’s intransigence, and no one is to blame except him for the probation and loss of accreditation due to his outdated concept of chiropractic education and his board of trustees that didn’t have the backbone to force him to follow a better path to retain CCE approval. Indeed, $id and his board may all be culpable in this legal mess if and when former students file suit. Instead of chanting the Money Hum, they all may be singing the blues afterwards.
It’s All About Money
Undoubtedly one huge concern by the CCE, SACS and the IRS investigations is the huge combined salaries of Life’s executive staff (in the range of $2.7 million) in a supposedly non-profit organization, as noted recently by the editors of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“Among other things, the accreditation panels criticized the school’s financial management: The Williams dynasty draws massive salaries by any university’s standards. In 1997 (the latest figures for Life’s salaries from the Chronicle of Higher Education), Williams’ salary was more than $900,000; his wife’s was nearly $500,000; his sister-in-law, assistant vice president Mildred Kimbrough, more than $323,000; and his longtime friend, Vice President Durie Humber, $625,870. By comparison, Harvard’s president earned $380,000 in 2000 and Yale’s president, $552,000. While her salary is not available [allegedly in the $400,000 range], Williams’ daughter, Kim, is also employed in the administration.” AJC editorial, 6-14-02
It’s hard to imagine that Big $id’s salary alone is nearly equivalent to the salaries of the presidents of Harvard and Yale combined! But, as Big $id has stated, “The program at Life University is far beyond many of the accredited universities. Students get a superior education.” “Far beyond” or over the top? Forget about running an Ivy League college—just start a chiropractic college in Dixie instead—it’s more lucrative, less filling academically, and you can build statues of yourself all over campus, ya folla?
Oddly, whenever $idiots raise their collective voice to argue the merits of $id’s leadership, they always turn a deaf ear to any criticism of $id’s management by wrath or his greedy nature, whether it’s his infamous Money Hum, firing 23 instructors via FedEx, the student loan debacle where 25% of Lifers were defaulting on their loans, or these humongous salaries of the Williams’ clan. Somehow these self-proclaimed “principled” chiropractors justify this obvious Enron situation in chiropractic with a blind eye. “Greed is good” seems to be their collective motto, allthewhile hiding behind their so-called principled version of straight chiropractic. Gimme a break—their hypocrisy is beyond the pale, and obvious to everyone except them!
Do You Hear The Trumpet Calling, Big $id?
Ironically, at Life’s Homecoming last year on October 5, 2001, $id gave a speech entitled, “Do You Hear The Trumpet Calling?” He began his speech with the famous statement by Edmund Burke, but little did he know this admonition would apply to him.
“As British politician and author Edmund Burke wrote, more than two
centuries ago, ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for
good men to do nothing.’”
Well, good men (and women) finally did something to end the reign of academic incompetence reeked upon students at Life. Aside from drawing the line in the sand of academic standards, and giving Big $id enough rope to hang himself, the good folks at CCE and the GBCE stood their line, toe to toe with $id and never wavered in their resistance to his legal threats, his PR spin, and his typical chiro-babble hyperbole making him appear to be the victim/martyr. Ironically, Big $id’s speech came back to haunt him, although he never thought it would pertain to him—good men did do something to triumph over his reign in this academic ruse known as Life Chiropractic.
If Big $id and his spinmeisters are sincere to save his Life as they’ve repeatedly mentioned in their press conferences, rather than fighting the demands of CCE to improve his diploma mill and denying the obvious infractions, he ought to take the advice of many to step down, including the advice of the editors of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“In order to save Life University, the school of chiropractic founded by ‘Dr. Sid’ Williams, the entire family must surrender control. Williams’ resignation alone is not enough… If the school is to survive, it can no longer be the family business. The founder and his family must separate themselves immediately from the day-to-day operations. Otherwise, the school will die, along with Williams’ dream and the careers of thousands of students.” AJC editorial, 6-14-02
Interestingly, this week marks the 30th anniversary of Richard Nixon’s demise in the Watergate affair. Rather than watching this country being torn apart even more by his scandal as it had already been frayed by the Viet Nam War, Nixon found it within himself to swallow his pride and resign for the sake of the country. Few would have thought it possible, but even Tricky Dick Nixon did what was best for our country during those turbulent times.
Will Big $id and his cohorts find the same mettle within themselves or will they continue to deny their obvious irresponsibility, continue to misguide their followers with lame excuses, and to risk the future of their entire student body? Time will tell, but I wouldn’t bet on $id ever doing the right thing, especially not when there’s just too much money and pride at stake. Hopefully, $id will prove me wrong, but it’s hard to change a tiger’s stripes, especially an old tiger long in the tooth.
Will Big $id hear the trumpet calling from the editors of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for his and his cohorts’ complete resignation from anything to do with Life, or will he continue to “folla those little voices” in his head?
If $id has any brave mentors left who can tell him what he doesn’t want to hear, I urge them to tell him to do the right thing and leave Life before it’s completely dead. With the exodus of students to other chiro colleges, the notice from Moody’s Investors Service to downgrade his bonds again, the threat of class action suits by disgruntled grads, the upcoming SACS review that can’t bode well, along with the on-going IRS investigation concerning financial issues at Life, the lifeblood of Life may be on the wane anyway.
Indeed, if Big $id waits much longer to leave, his Life may be completely lifeless—the “limitation of matter,” as he and other BJ advocates are prone to say.
Enuf said, Big $id, ya folla?