Our young movement has reached a significant milestone. Though we are a diverse coalition OBU stakeholders including alumni, parents, and retired faculty, some of our most passionate supporters are current OBU students.
The revenue paid to OBU by students who have expressed support for Save OBU now exceeds the BGCO's annual subsidy! That's right! We paid more to OBU this year than its owner/operator, the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.
Individually, students unfortunately didn't have any recourse against the recent disastrous changes at OBU (faculty dismissals, gutting core curriculum areas like philosophy, a fundamentalist litmus test for hiring, the bookstore, censorship of course materials, etc). Students also found that, while a needed step, anonymous protests were easily dismissed by the administration. Six weeks ago, students began emailing us saying they supported our mission but were afraid to "like" our Facebook page for fear that somehow they could get in trouble. But those fears quickly subsided. OBU students now know they are free to hold their own opinions about the university's relationship to the state convention. Thankfully, many dozens (soon to be hundreds) of courageous students have raised their voices in support of OBU distinctives like academic freedom, open inquiry, and liberty of the conscience -- distinctives that are being quietly but deliberately eroded. Individually and anonymously, students were easy to ignore. Collectively and publicly, however, they have ratcheted up the pressure on the administration to stop turning its back on OBU's liberal arts heritage.
It only takes 93 students to provide the same amount of annual revenue ($2,500,000.00) as the BGCO.
We easily have that many student supporters already, and that number will inevitably continue to grow as the word spreads.
In the weeks and months to come, we will be flexing our muscle in more significant ways. After all, we will provide OBU more revenue this year than Oklahoma's 700,000 Southern Baptists. We may not elect any trustees (yet), but we will have a seat at the table. The faculty (current and former) want the provost out, and since his fingerprints are all over the disastrous changes we oppose, it seems a near certainty that he will eventually move on. But make no mistake, our strong, principled, and public stand is a big part of what will give the president and trustees the cover they need to stop OBU's descent into fundamentalism, which will enrage the BGCO.
For now, let's celebrate how far we've come in such a short time! Thanks, OBU students, for your courageous, thoughtful, and prayerful support.