Yesterday, I explained a bit of my personal reasoning for blogging: it is currently for me the best way that I can see to do the right thing.
Today, I want to continue in explanation of my own motivation. We have said it many times on this blog, but I really don't think it goes without saying. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of our keeping vigilance over our dear school.
Something that has struck me in almost all of the stories we have seen/heard about schools and other institutions suffering fallout from the fundamentalist takeover is the swiftness with which the changes occur.
I never thought about it until I started reading about it in other schools, but the downward spiral is truly just that. Devastation can come to a great university seemingly overnight. And it does not take long for that devastation to spiral out of control.
If you have not read the account given by former Shorter University trustee Larry Burgess, I suggest you do. Jacob highlighted some of the main points, but the tale is truly awe-inspiring... in the worst way. Several times when reading it my jaw just dropped. Literally.
Here's what is still so surprising to me: a small number of people who are only mildly affiliated with a school can lie and threaten their way into driving that school past unaccreditation straight into the ground.
Larry Burgess was continually surprised at the dirty-handed tactics used by the convention, but frankly, I was too. It shouldn't be surprising. I have seen and heard of it too many times. It is the same story told in different places and voices about those looking to guard "orthodoxy" and the incredible means they will pursue in order to find it.
It happens so fast.
And if no one is watching, it will happen right before our eyes.
Changes already happened quickly at OBU! In my short time there I saw one president leave, the approximately one year interim presidency, and the beginning of the current administration-- but before I left, one person had already been fired. It took less than two years. The current BGCO-friendly administration has been there for only 3 and a half years and already we have had enough things to fill nearly six months of blog. AND, that is with extreme faculty and student resistance.
That has not been the only swift change. In 2009, OBU ranked #109 in Forbes best colleges. Now, we have dropped to #299. In those two years, OBU has been surpassed by nearly 200 schools. That is an almost 200% drop.
When students and faculty are no longer respected in favor of catering to the fundamentalist Baptist elites, the good ones start figuring out that it's time to leave.
That could happen soon. And then we would have nothing. And when you read someone's testimony about how it happened so quickly, it would surprise you. But it shouldn't.
But if we can keep up vigilance, hopefully, we can stop the cycle.