Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Brief Revival for Save OBU

As I noted a few times over the summer, I've deliberately scaled back the Save OBU effort.  For one thing, I believe it would be counterproductive to keep hammering OBU's now veteran administrators for offenses that occurred 2-3 years ago.  We made our point.  The last thing I want is to make things more difficult for the students and professors who are still trying to engage in rigorous, intellectually honest Christian higher education on Bison Hill.  Another fact is that I spent too much time on an issue that is near and dear to my heart, but not very relevant to my personal or professional life.

We certainly celebrate the university's many recent successes.  But we hopefully trust that things have stabilized.  Unless the situation at OBU takes another turn for the worst, you won't see daily updates and commentary on every OBU news release here.

Even so, there are a few developments I would like to keep before our friends and supporters.  The most recent Forbes list indicates that OBU's slide in the rankings has, mercifully, stopped.  The Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry has a new faculty member this year.  And sources confirm that OBU is planning to follow the lead of several other Catholic and evangelical institutions and sue the United States in federal court over an administrative rule issued by the Department of Health and Human Services last year.

I'll report on each of these matters in the days to come.

I also want to say more about an idea I considered over the summer.  The several Southern Baptist colleges that have reverted back toward fundamentalism in recent years should band together and petition the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.  Ideally, other evangelical colleges would join us in solidarity.  The CCCU should give guidance about how to protect academic freedom and ensure ethical administration when fundamentalists threaten and obliterate long-standing norms of institutional behavior.  Or, alternatively, the CCCU should give its blessing to these takeovers and say publicly that it does not care about what many Christian colleges have experienced in recent years.

Let's stay informed and stay connected.  Given that another unethical firing or any number of fundamentalist-inspired violations could potentially occur at any moment, we need to keep our movement active so that we can mobilize more easily when the next crazy thing happens.  Has the war already been lost?  Perhaps.  But if we truly want to be "loyal to our alma mater," the least we can do is stand up for what we know is right.

Save OBU is not dead yet!

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