This season of the year provides us all the opportunity to give thanks for things that are important to us. I would like to list some things that I am thankful for, as well as some things that others MUST be thankful for.
Things I am thankful for:
- SOS, for continuing to shed light on shadowy behind the scenes maneuvering at Shorter University.
- Past faculty and staff for establishing an educational legacy and traditions that, until recently, carried over the decades.
- Current faculty and staff that remained through the recent upheaval to provide some continuity to upper-class students.
- New faculty, for doing their best in positions that many were not yet qualified for at this point in their educational journey.
- Alumni who care about Shorter enough to point out the slippery slope of academic obscurity that Shorter could be headed down with just a few more “edicts” or “sound decisions” by the Dowless administration.
- The Messengers who attended the recent GBC annual conference and also represented SOS in a dignified manner. Yes, many of us are Baptist and some are GBC Baptists. These Messengers also were able to listen to and videotape Don Dowless giving his “State of Shorter” speech to the Educational Committee of the GBC and the Annual Meeting attendees as well.
Speaking of Don Dowless, he has things I am SURE he is thankful for:
- Nelson Price, for bringing him to Rome, Georgia and giving him a thriving University to play “school” with.
- A Board of Trustees that take him at his word that Shorter is thriving and about to explode. (Funny thing about explosions, they often blow up in the face of the detonating body.)
- An ability to sell Shorter as a school that had “strayed” from the Godly path. This has served him well speaking to fundamentalist supporters who do not care about the quality of education, as long as the Bible is involved.
- The athletic department, for serving as the object of his adoration. In the face of academic upheaval this acts as a great diversion when speaking to the public.
- The GBC, which supports his every move and seem hell-bent -er- determined to make sure Shorter serves as a Sunday school-missionary-fundamental whirligig of academia.
Regarding the GBC, they must be thankful also:
- For President Simoneaux of Brewton –Parker College who spoke of his schools increased enrollment and presented his school in a positive and dignified manner.
- For President Caner of Truett-McConnell, who also spoke of increased enrollment with statistics to back it up, while also speaking of traditional marriage and family values with such fervor that rounds of spontaneous applause errupted.
- For President Dowless of Shorter University, who spoke of pride, pride, and…well…PRIDE. When prompted, the audience clapped politely. He also spoke of enrollment, presenting a figure of 2972 under the umbrella of Shorter. He failed to mention that this is a DECREASE of 730 students. However, this must be acceptable because he is so PROUD of the numbers. Nowhere in his address did he make mention of any academic accomplishment, save for the softball team’s scholastic prowess.
Thanksgiving is also a time to pray for those less fortunate, and at Shorter this would be the students. Many upperclassmen are just trying to finish and get out. I pray that they will recall enough positive memories from their time at Shorter to offset the train wreck from the past year that was ushered in by the “New Shorter Order”. I pray for the freshmen who have little idea of how Shorter was just a short time ago, except for the brochures they read that featured those students, faculty, and staff who made up the Shorter University they THOUGHT existed.
Our former academic stalwart is in hibernation, and we must all pray especially for alumni and friends to care enough to take an unflinching stand that will allow Shorter to re-emerge as a Christian university that is athletically AND academically sound.