Responses are still coming in from our last post. We have posted some of them below.
For those of you who may wonder, the Board of Trustees meeting went exactly as we predicted that it would. Though we hoped for someone to stand up and ask the hard questions, no one did. The Pied Piper played his siren song, and like the rats over the cliff, they followed mindlessly along. The enrollment is fine, Shorter is in excellent financial condition, donations haven’t dropped and we’re in the NCAA – Go Hawks!
Many of the board members have been on the board a number of years. They have in their possession the statistics from years past. It is their responsibility to do their own statistical comparisons. It is clear to us that they did not, nor did they avail themselves of the statistics we have presented on this site.
We have to ask why, when questions are posed, when students and faculty leave in such large numbers, when enrollment numbers are demonstrably down and when donors walk away from an institution which they have long supported, the Board of Trustees would desert their responsibilities to the institution they have vowed to sustain. Is loyalty to the GBC more important than their duty to Shorter University? It appears that it is.
To the Shorter Board of Trustees – we hold you personally accountable for your actions or lack thereof.
To our friends on the Hill who suffer in silence – we are with you, we pray for you and we will not be moved.
I think that my first experience at Shorter typifies my 6 years there. I was sitting in my office working on preparing my lab manuals and getting things ready for the first week of class when two students walked in and set down. Coming from big schools where students didn’t really interact with the professors often, I assumed they needed something and asked if I could help them. Their response was “Nope. We work for you. And we’re probably going to hang out in here so we figured we’d get to know you.” From that day until the day I said my goodbyes, my office was a revolving door where students not only came to have the material clarified, but to laugh, to cry, to discuss their lives and their beliefs. I will treasure the friendships I made there. From students to my fellow faculty…I made lifelong friends who have influenced my ability to teach and have enriched my life by sharing theirs with me.
I know that God has taken this “mess” and turned it around for me. I am blessed to be at a school where my administration supports me and where my opinion is valued. I am appreciated for my ability to teach and give my students the academic rigor they deserve and I am not asked to give up the integrity of my classroom. But my heart aches for those left behind…students, faculty, and staff…that must now endure a Shorter that is not like the one I was fortunate enough to find in 2006. It was an incredibly special place.
Mr. Richard Pirkle
Asst. Professor of Biology
6 years of service
October 24, 2011 was the first day of the most difficult year of my life – professionally, personally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Just 7 months after a fantastic job interview where I was offered a job at Shorter and just 6 weeks after that job began, I was informed via email that my faith was no longer acceptable, that my love for my gay friends and students was no longer acceptable, and that the foundational theories of my subject area (Biology) were no longer acceptable. The Hill changed that day. Faculty were distracted, students were confused, and our personal safety was even threatened. So, six weeks after beginning a new job and eight weeks after moving 900 miles, my life was thrown into complete turmoil; however, despite all of this we taught, we formed relationships with our students, and we represented Christ. We constantly heard “If you don’t like it leave” straight from the President’s mouth, but we still taught. We spent late nights preparing job applications or worrying over finances, but we still mentored. We cried and screamed at home, but we still took our students on field trips. We went to counseling or saw our doctors because of the stress we were experiencing, but we still gave a listening ear when our students needed it. Eventually many of us accepted new jobs and moved away, but do you know what has happened? We are still mentoring and supporting our Shorter students. Our students are now experiencing a complete lack of leadership and they have lost the experienced faculty they love and trust. In the place of the departed faculty are inexperienced individuals who are unavailable to students, accusatory, and lacking in knowledge in their subject areas. How does this benefit the students I love?
I have had a difficult time recovering from the past year. My body and my spirit have taken a toll that I never thought possible, but I cannot say that I regret my year at Shorter. I met colleagues who quickly became some of my best friends, I was mentored by truly amazing teachers with a wealth of knowledge and experience, and I had students who truly desired to learn and use their knowledge to advance the Kingdom. Thank you SOS and my former colleagues for continuing to the fight the good fight. Please know that while some of us may no longer be on the Hill with you that you are never far from our thoughts.
Name Withheld by Request
On October 24, 2011 (one year ago), the administration that had assumed control of Shorter released a group of documents pushing a controlling and fundamentalist agenda under the pretense of “bringing Shorter back to its Christian roots,” which it had never left in the first place. This precipitated the massive exodus of dozens of faculty and staff, many of whom had intended to remain at Shorter for life and many of whom had already been there for years, as well as the massive transfer of dozens of students. To those who have been scattered abroad, and also to those who remain at Shorter working at the attempt to restore the decimated performing arts program: you are in my thoughts today. Kyrie eleison.
Thomas Hobson Williams
Former Shorter Student
One year ago today, a fundamental (no pun intended) series of events began to unfold in my life. Dear Shorter University – thanks for pushing me out the door so that Reinhardt University, with all of its magnificent students, faculty, and staff, could welcome me with open arms. I’ve made friends for life. There is no doubt I’m where I’m supposed to be.
Former Shorter Student