This story comes from a former faculty member.
I know that a few people have posted things to our FaceBook page that happened to them while at Shorter that they felt they were not at liberty to share while they were there. I would like to add my story.
My second year at Shorter, a few students got together to try and create a Gay-Straight Alliance. A few grew to many. They went through all the proper channels to try and make it an official, college-sponsored group with a constitution, SGA funding, etc. I volunteered to be the faculty adviser for the group, as it is a cause that is near and dear to my heart. A couple of months later I received a letter saying that my contract was not going to be renewed. After meeting with a few in upper administration, I was originally told that it was due to “general cutbacks” and that the axe fell to me because I was the newest hire.
But then a higher up who was a wonderful administrator and really DECENT human being told me the real reason in a closed-door, I-will-deny-this-in-court type meeting. He told me that if I kept my name affiliated with the group that there was no way my contract would be renewed. Long story a tiny bit shorter (no pun intended), I felt that I could best serve the LGBT students at Shorter if I remained there, so I removed my name from affiliation with the group but continued to advise in a completely secretive, unofficial capacity. My contract was renewed.
I stayed 2 more wonderful and challenging years and don’t regret a second of it…but that experience scarred me permanently and I never completely recovered from my lack of trust in that institution. And time and time again over those last 2 years, that lack of trust was fortified.
I am forever grateful for everything I learned from my students and my experience at Shorter–I am a better person, teacher, friend, and artist as a result. My heart continues to be broken for what is happening, yet I am strengthened by the knowledge that I have continued to stay in touch with so many of you that crossed my path there.
Light and love.