Susie Kelly is the mother of two Shorter students. The following is a letter sent to Dr. Dowless and the Board of Trustees
315 Shorter Avenue
Rome, GA 30165
President Don Dowless and the members of The Shorter University Board of Trustees:
Fifteen years ago my husband and I moved to Rome from Washington State. His company was closing down the division he worked with and he was offered to transfer to other divisions around the country. We chose Rome partly because of its charm and partly because of the college opportunities for our three growing children.
We left behind the unreasonable views of the liberal left and found it refreshing that belief in God was not ridiculed but encouraged. There were times where we discovered people who didn’t understand that Catholics were Christians long before there was a Baptist church and it was the Baptist movement that chose another path, but those misunderstandings were few. Imagine my surprise when my daughter received a response to a letter she sent to the Trustees stating that Catholics could work at the university as long as they were “born again” and complied with the morality statement. For Catholics this means renounce your Christian faith or you can’t work at Shorter. Stuart Neslin, a deacon from our church, went to explain why Catholics could not sign this statement and was turned away without speaking to anyone; Dr. Dowless refused to listen. So only the right kind of Christians can be employed at Shorter.
Which leads me to another point in this morality statement, the drinking of alcohol. Jesus asked his disciples to eat bread and drink wine to confirm their commitment to him. Catholics still participate in this sacrament today, another strike against being employed at Shorter. Jesus’ first miracle was to turn water into wine (not grape juice). Wine was safe to drink in those times, and could be preserved for times when juice was not available and water was not always safe to drink. Drinking alcohol is not now nor has it ever been a sin. I know of only two religions who believe it to be a sin: Baptists and Muslims. For college students today it is important that they be given the example of moderation. It seems a bit hypocritical to be forced to hide away in back rooms to drink a glass of wine or other beverage.
My two daughters selected Shorter College above other offers for its reputation for providing an excellent education in music. Shorter is known as “The Conservatory of the South” because of its high standards in music instruction and performance. This reputation is due to quality professors and staff who are now being forced out of the school by this Statement of Faith and the censorship from this new regime. Already the spring opera was canceled because it included the use of alcohol and the fall opera had to be changed to drinking Coca-Cola instead of wine. These are only some of the changes we know of; professors and staff are kept silent due to the fear of being fired. Their only choice is to abandon the sinking ship as the light upon the hill is smothered by this oppressive doctrine. Our family is exploring other options.
Parent of a Shorter Student
Former Member of Shorter College Parents Association