So what do we learn from posting such stories? Am I, as my critics have been so quick to decide, using emotion and hearsay to make people mad? Or is there a point?
From posting these stories about recent student/administration relations, we glean some very important things.
First and foremost, we at Save OBU have an opportunity to stand against injustice and abuse of power. The idea that it is somehow justifiable for the president of a university, especially a Christian university, to treat truth-seeking students the way that students have been treated is appalling. Even for those who don't agree with anything about our movement-- surely any decent human being can realize that it is ridiculous to expect students to kowtow to such authoritarian actions and then blame them for their own unease. Some students experienced abuse and bullying and the rest of the students were ignored and treated as if they were unthinking and easily placated. We are here to say that OBU crafts brilliant thinkers. And if the administration is not ready to deal with them as the newly-blosomed adults that they are, then they do not know who they are dealing with.
These voices may come from people who are easily dismissed and forgotten. But we, Save OBU, will not allow them to be so. Their brave actions of dissent will be recognized-- as well as the terrible treatment they received as a result.
These stories show the true state of goings-on at OBU. The problems do not lie within a few isolated cases of professors being treated unethically. Rather, OBU is living through a persistent pattern of disrespect, unethical abuses by those in power, and disregard for the true mission of the University. It was expected that both students and faculty would be placated with changes to buildings and sports, but both parties have remained unswayed and dedicated to protecting those fragile freedoms upon which OBU was founded.
So then, is the problem the administration? Why write about these things on a blog which advocates for a split with the BGCO?
After all, Jacob began with a hopeful eye toward the administration-- and perhaps you have seen that I disagree. (That's ok, we don't have to agree on everything!)
But Jacob has made a few very good points early on that hold great import for this new information. These problems are not these problems are not new at OBU. They have been around for a long time. They are, surely, reaching new heights with faculty dismissals and student disrespect, but this strong ideological power battle is not a new thing at OBU.
In fact, last summer as I moved to Texas and began to meet many who had lived through the fundamentalist takeover, my stories were not so surprising to them. One even said, "We get it. You're losing your school. We lost our entire denomination."
It turns out that lying, abusing power, working in secrecy-- these are characteristics of the leadership that has followed much of the fundamentalism in the SBC. It is militant. The ends justify the means. So what if a few students need to bullied into silence or a few liberals need to lose their jobs? We will soon have a bible-believing school again!
Sounds just like something Jesus might say.
But all of this brings me to my final point-- alluded to yesterday. If the administration is not listening to faculty and they are not listening to students, then who are they possibly listening to? Whose opinion can possibly matter?
The only solution I've found: they are hoping to impress the Baptist-higher ups. They want to look good with the BGCO. In their post-takeover SBC world, purifying OBU will be the ultimate feather in their caps.
And that is why ties need to be split. We cannot deal with the misplaced loyalties any longer. Look at what it has done to our faculty. Look at what it has done to our students. Look at what it has given us for administration. What will be the end result of our beloved school?