Last September, I noticed that the OBU Wikipedia page made no reference to the numerous controversies on campus and neglected to mention any of the many tensions its relationship to the BGCO has created over the years. I made some edits that were fairly opinionated. As is the practice on Wikipedia, another user changed the phrasing of some of the content I added to make it more objective.
A few months later, however, someone deleted my "Controversies" section altogether. In spite of the fact that my assertions were well-documented, this person deleted the content purely on the grounds that s/he did not agree. A longtime Wikipedia editor who has no connection to OBU but who looks after some of the entries that are relevant to the Shawnee community reverted the entry back.
Then, sometime after the OBU blog first appeared, an OBU administrator logged on and deleted the controversies section as well as a very accurate section that "gave an inaccurate presentation of OBU ownership." I haven't become enough of a Wikipedia expert to find out how to revert this. Luckily, another Wikipedia editor restored some of the original text.
But I was pleased that the Wikipedia community reverted part of the original "Controversies" section. Today I added some more text to that section. Out of pure weariness, I decided not to talk about the most egregious things OBU administrators have done, such as dismiss two professors who they viewed as too moderate without honoring their rights under the Faculty Handbook. I also didn't get into the problem of the university hiring professors over the objections of faculty search committee recommendations. The main issue here is that, while faculty have told me about these problems, I don't have any hard evidence or documentation.
That's why today I'm asking people to keep an important issue in mind. We need documentation whenever possible. I have not reported anything on this blog that isn't true. But I would love to share more if I had hard evidence. It turns out that the Save OBU blog has really only begun to scratch the surface of the administration's unprecedented lurch toward fundamentalism. What we really need are emails, documents, or any other sources that present undeniable evidence that the administration is pursuing the BGCO's fundamentalist agenda.
The administration is not eager to leave a paper trail. But evidence must exist, and we need it. A lot of the damage is done behind closed doors. Fortunately for us (but tragically), many faculty, students, and alumni do not trust the administration to do the right thing for OBU. And thankfully, a lot of people have been willing to provide information so that we can get the word out to people who love OBU and hate to see it go down this road.
I marshaled all the restraint I could in presenting the Wikipedia material objectively. But if we could actually document everything the administration has done and put it in the public record, it would be an insurmountable embarrassment for them. I don't know what will happen in the Wiki wars. Maybe OBU administrators will log on and delete the "Controversies" section to keep the public in the dark about the truth: that they have obviously and deliberately parted company with OBU's great liberal arts tradition and taken us down an unprecedented, dangerous, and very sad new path. Or maybe people will edit the page to list problems and bad changes (that they can document) that I don't even know about yet.
Still, we're in luck. The truth is on our side.
OBU's Wikipedia page is here.