Several years ago the Humane Society of the United States launched “Humane Society University”—but don’t let the name fool you, it wasn’t a legitimate institute of higher education. HSU was not accredited as a degree-granting institution. And it now seems to be a nearly non-existent entity.
HSU’s website announces that classes are suspended indefinitely. HSU “is currently not accepting applications for enrollment into the College of Arts and Sciences”—we presume this is a liberal use of the word “college”—and “Online professional development programs are under review and no courses are being offered during the Winter term.” HSU president Michael Blackwell has abruptly become a senior director at HSUS, where he can be a white-coated flak. The website is lacking much of the content it had previously.
Translation: School’s out. Perhaps for good.
And perhaps it’s no surprise. HSU’s ignoble history includes being overseen by a person whose own Ph.D. came from an unaccredited institution based in Spain, whose degrees are illegal to use in a number of states. And according to HSUS’s own Articles of Incorporation, it isn’t even supposed to run a private educational institution. HSU also has negative net assets, according to its most recent tax return, and its program service revenue (presumably a good measure of enrollments) dropped 36 percent.
Given HSU’s cost, maybe people realized it just wasn’t worth attending a non-accredited “university” run by the cheapskate HSUS, which has hoarded over $200 million and spends a significant portion of its budget on fundraising costs. A 2012 Washington Post story on HSU uncovered one class attended by just six people.
We can’t say we’ll miss HSU. And it’s another blow to the leadership of Wayne Pacelle. If he wasn’t so focused on raising money and 18-month book tours, might he be able to execute?