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Cincinnati Christian University Students Make Hard Decisions

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Ann Thompson
/
WVXU
StudentsTeirstynn Roberts (left), Kristen Keyes (far right) and Ashley Birmele (near right) discuss their future at BLOC Coffee Company.

There are few answers coming from Cincinnati Christian University (CCU) trustees beyond a letter to students and faculty as the school prepares to close in January. CCU announced Oct. 29 it would cease academic operations and no longer pursue accreditation because it had run out of money.

Chairman of the CCU Board of Trustees, Chris Hahn, tells WVXU to look at the letter and the FAQ section of its website. "All relevant statements and information are contained within these resources," he says when asked for comment.

As CCU establishes a partnership with Central Christian College of the Bible (CCCB), Hahn encourages students to reach out to trustees for answers. CCCB is scheduled to open an extension site in Cincinnati in the spring of 2020.

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CCU is scheduled to close in January. It's unclear what will happen to the campus.

That is little comfort to students who are scrambling to find another school.

Sophomore Teirstynn Roberts is in the honors program with a double major in psychology and sign language. She had a full scholarship.

"(I'm) still figuring it out," says Roberts. "Applying to different places. A lot of great schools have reached out to the students and have been really great about transferring credits and giving us discounts."

Freshman Kristen Keyes calls it a really unfortunate situation for everyone. "The board members, you can be mad at them, but they also are broken because they've been there for so long too."

Keyes says when she got the news CCU was closing she broke down crying. "CCU is huge on community; we love having connections with each other and friendships and my immediate reaction was my friends are leaving."

She is applying to other schools and hopes God has the perfect place for her.

Junior transfer student Ashley Birmele is now faced with another transfer.

"I came from one of the lowest moments of my life. I call it a safe haven CCU became for me. I reconnected with God on a level that was so amazing."

Birmele describes the administration's communication with students and staff as kind of a bait and switch, but adds CCU employees have been "super helpful."

With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.