A California university established by a controversial Japanese Buddhist organization, which has been called a “cult,” is having serious problems.
25% of the faculty at the newly established Soka Gakkai University in Aliso Veijo, California have been dismissed and/or walked out. And students are dropping out in protest, reports the Orange Country Register.
Japanese businessman Daisaku Ikeda is the founder and leader of the modern Soka Gakkai sect. His organization seems to be in the midst of a public relations meltdown regarding its newest school in the United States.
The controversial Buddhist sect spent nearly a half billion dollars to get the 103-acre campus up and running.
But despite the group’s wealth and expensive effort it seems that teachers and students alike don’t appreciate the way it runs the school.
Soka Gakkai previously promised the new university would not be focused on its beliefs, proselytizing and religious indoctrination, but instead would reflect “an open, nonsectarian environment.”
However, professors and students say, “most decisions are made by an administration composed entirely of Soka Gakkai Buddhists.”
One professor said the university is “secretive, hierarchical, coercive and deceitful.” Another who was fired has taken legal action, alleging “religious discrimination.” And the university’s Dean of Faculty is gone, seemingly as the result of a purge.
There is a sharp divergence of opinion between those faculty and students affiliated with Soka Gakkai and others outside the group. Those within the organization essentially deny the seriousness of allegations.
It seems Soka Gakkai is having considerable difficulty adapting to an academic setting based upon openness and dialog. The organization is instead historically known for its autocratic and authoritarian tendencies.
A lawyer for one former teacher said, “In a university environment, you’re supposed to be able to ask questions.” One teacher added, “This is the least powerful faculty I have ever seen in my life.”
But the sect and its political party known as Komeito in Japan has a deeply troubled history of aggressive proselytizing, allegations of abuse and purported blind reverence and obedience to its leader Ikeda.
Maybe these academics and students should have done their homework before going to Soka U?