In the television series “Star Trek-The Next Generation”, there was an alien being known as the “Borg”. This entity floated through space, absorbing any life form with which it came in contact. Individuality no longer existed. Everyone became part of the collective “Borg”. Any opposition was silenced by elimination, except for that of the central character of the show – a man named Picard. He was able to hold on to a thread of his individual uniqueness, and was eventually able to escape the clutches of the Borg.
How does this sci-fi story relate to Shorter? It seems there is a GCB (Georgia Baptist Convention) “Borg” that has absorbed Shorter Trustees, administration, faculty, and alumni relations. If this was an act born solely of a Christian mindset, a love for Jesus, I would be wholeheartedly supportive of such a measure. There is nothing more important than a relationship with Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, the “Borg” at Shorter is cast from a different mold. Its mindset is rooted in POWER.
Control of the trustees is a huge achievement for the “GBC Borg”. With the trustees being part of the collective vision, no potential idea outside of this narrow-minded vision is considered. One idea is presented and all seem to nod in collective agreement. They seem to forget that the Board of Trustees’ fiduciary responsibility is to the well being of the school, not the well being of the GBC.
Another important achievement of the “GBC Borg” is the absorption of Shorter’s administration. President Dowless, whose individuality was absorbed long ago, does not seem to see Shorter University as an institution of higher learning, but as a subsidiary of the Baptist mission organization. Any suggestion or alternate view to his plans for Shorter has been ignored or squelched by firing. Many strong Christian men and women were fired in this manner. He has surrounded himself with like-minded thinkers from the GBC collective vision. By doing so, he has total control of the day-to-day activities at Shorter.
This brings us to faculty. Many left because of the now infamous statement of conduct that was presented by the Trustees and President. What this served to accomplish was to eliminate anyone who did not adhere to control of their freedom to live and teach, no matter their Christian beliefs. “Borgs” are bullies, and threats of termination did and do abound because of what might happen in the classroom as well as out of the classroom.
Now let’s examine the Alumni Governing board and alumni in general. The AGB once was a channel for two-way communication between alumni and administration. Now that it has been absorbed by the “GBC/Shorter Borg”, it trumpets only the new collective vision and how wonderful and glorious the GBC-chosen interlopers and their changes are. Instead of conveying concerns of hundreds of alumni, they tell the alumni it is wrong to speak against the supreme leadership. “Join us,” they say, “The OLD Shorter is dead. Its time for the NEW Shorter”.
But there are a large number of alumni who do not care for this new vision, not because of some wistful remembrance of olden times on the Hill, but out of concern for current and future students at Shorter, whose education deserves to be strong and focused on a pursuit of Truth, taught by instructors who teach with high personal and professional standards that are grounded within that individual instructor, not determined by the President’s office.
Many other concerns by these alumni are being ignored. Many alumni dissenters are called liars. Problem is, alumni cannot be fired, their voices cannot be squelched.
As it becomes apparent that more and more voices are rising in resistance to the GBC-Shorter “Borg”, perhaps these alumni resisters can serve as sort of a “Picard” hero and eventually help Shorter escape the clutches of a vision that could eventually strip Shorter of any continuity of her heritage.