Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Faculty Get the Shorter End of the Stick

Shorter College is not high on most people's academic horizons: it's a small, Baptist-oriented college in Rome, Georgia in the northwestern part of that state.

Recently the college announced that it would require its faculty and staff to sign a statement  "rejecting homosexuality, adultery, premarital sex, drug use and drinking in public near the Rome, Ga., college’s campus.  It also requires faculty to be active members of a local church. The statement, one of several steps the university has taken to intensify its Christian identity after the Georgia Baptist Convention began asserting more control over the campus six years ago, provoked an uproar among faculty, alumni and observers."

Read more:
Inside Higher Ed

As a matter of fact, many of the faculty there seems to be dropping out just on principle.  This is impressive, given the fact that so many of them are at mid-career and it's hard to get a job in academe nowadays.  Furthermore, these persons probably loved their institution, have homes in Rome, and love living in that community and their having to relocate would create considerable hardship during these recessional times.

I suspect that these faculty at Shorter College are not fire-eaters when it comes to faculty, unlike those of the storied Berkeley students and faculty of the old days.  These would be people who would simply teach at their Baptist institution that they voluntarily chose to affiliate with.  Additionally, many of them had been awarded tenure years ago which implied a continuous contract with certain stipulations.  In effect, Shorter College changed the rules unilaterally: it's now saying that they require their faculty and staff to eschew homosexuality, sleeping around if you're single, drinking, drugs, and be good, active Baptists.  Within the confines of colleges and universities in other places, this is an anomaly: there is a more laissez-faire attitude: as long as you conduct your lifestyle privately, and do not have sex with undergraduates or break the law, they're willing to overlook what is going on.  (As a single grad student, I say thank God!)

Boo to this move by Shorter College's governing body!  If there's a saving grace in this unhappy story, it is that there is a large number of faculty at this little college who are willing to stand up for their principles, even if it's costly to them.

Note to other colleges and universities: THESE are the kind of men and women that you want to teach your students.


Mike said...

Not only should other colleges offer the faculty jobs but they should recruit the students away from this place so it shuts down.

Anonymous said...

What an idiotic move! as a result, they lose a lot of skilled, able teachers as the result of some doctrinal showboating.

Clarissa said...

"there is a more laissez-faire attitude: as long as you conduct your lifestyle privately" -- no rules?

Duckbutt said...

The Georgia Baptist Convention also had issues with Mercer University.

I hope those faculty members get hired elsewhere, but knowing what universities are like, other places will pay as little as the can get away with.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

I'm sure other universities will be all too willing to scoop up extra students.

Bilbo said...

Reminds me of the current brouhaha here in DC, where the Catholic archbishop of Washington is furious that Georgetown University has invited HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to be a commencement speaker. Oy.

Banana Oil said...

That type of college is on its way to total irrelevance.

The Bastard King of England said...

That document is asking for people to be hypocrites.

Anemone said...

Shorter and Rome sound like a dreary place to be.