Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Part 3 - It Really is Amazing...

It never ends…

     I had intended to quiet down and not post for a while but how can I be quiet about this... they just don't stop.

     I’m not sure how to articulate the level of frustration I’ve dealt with over the last two years serving on the Board of Trustees of Louisiana College. The lack of information disseminated (especially for those of us who are not serving on the Executive Committee), the propaganda issued extolling the greatness of our new programs (which don’t seem to ever come to fruition) and the continual deflecting of blame onto strawmen (or very real men who do not deserve such blame) have contributed to my exasperation. But the coup de grace is the nauseating continual culture of secrecy and subsequent political wrangling that permeates the Board. Today, I offer another example of our state of affairs.
     This morning I received an email from Lonnie Scarborough. Lonnie is a business man with whom I serve on the Board of Trustees and is the immediate past Vice-Chairman of the Board (often it was the case that the Vice-Chair moved up to the Chair spot as a matter of affirmation, but Lonnie was not elected/reelected to that position this past year). I know him to be a man of great integrity and highly esteemed in his community. He has been a voice of reason and of peace-making but has also expressed concerns (as have a number of others). According to his email, he is also an LC grad. The email he sent to the entire Board was an interesting one, which sadly, but not surprisingly sheds even more light on the culture of secrecy surrounding Louisiana College and it’s leadership.
     Lonnie’s email (which he sent to the entire Board, or at least those names included on previous emails to the full Board) included a forwarded message that had been sent by the President of Louisiana College to a HAND-SELECTED portion of Board members. Part of the reason this is so interesting is that this is the first time since November 11, 2013 that I’ve known about any correspondence from the President to the Board (and yet it excluded a number of Board members).
     It’s not the content of the message that is so disappointing (albeit taxing). The concern is that it was not correspondence with the full Board. This is the modus operandi from which these people function and if I didn’t laugh at the ineptitude and the continual mess they make, I suppose I’d sit and cry (of course I’ve done a bit of that too). Here is the content of Lonnie’s email including the original message from the President and those to whom the message was originally sent:
Dr. Aguillard and Fellow Trustees:
     As a duly-elected and active trustee, I am puzzled as to why I (and many other trustees) did not directly receive the informative email below sent by Dr. Aguillard yesterday afternoon.
     Having served the Board, Louisiana College, and Louisiana Baptists for 4 ½ years as a trustee, I am (sadly) forced to wonder why I didn’t receive the original correspondence.  I thought that perhaps it was an oversight, but then I noticed that there were at least a dozen other trustees who were not directly communicated with…and that is why I have copied everyone.  Truth and Transparency must be paramount. I certainly hope that I have not been falsely and undeservedly identified as a trustee who cannot be trusted with information that concerns my alma mater.
     With the relative lack of information shared between board meetings from the administration, I would humbly ask that any and all non-confidential correspondence from the President’s office that would be informative to any one trustee be supplied to every trustee.

In support of Truth,
Lonnie Scarborough

(the email addresses above were copied from a recent email sent by the Chairman, so I assume every trustee is listed)

[email addresses redacted]

I'm forwarding this from the Town Talk to you.  They are writing an entire story based
On an anonymous letter.  They just keep on attacking.

BUT GOD! was just worshipped at LC and lifted up at our faculty and staff worship meeting this afternoon.

Appreciating your prayers and leadership,

Dr. Joe W. Aguillard
Louisiana College

Phone: (318) 487-7401
Fax: (318) 487-7400
1140 College Dr.
Box 583
Pineville, LA

"Education in its truest sense is none other than the development of the image of God that is planted in every human being."
**CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE**  The information in this e-mail and attached document(s) is intended only for the addressee(s).  It may be legally privileged and confidential.  If you have received this information in error, notify us immediately by calling the number set out above.  If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication or its contents is strictly prohibited.

From: Gentry, Leigh [address redacted]
Sent: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 3:11 PM
To: Joe Aguillard
Cc: John Willie
Subject: request for comment for tomorrow's story

Hi, Dr. Aguillard. I'm writing a story on the financial status at LC that will run tomorrow. I apologize for contacting you late in the day, but I got a late start myself today. I include in the story information about the dorms (which we discussed when I came out to English Village last month) and the capital campaign that is to go toward housing improvements as well as faculty contract non-renewals we've seen reported.

How much has been raised in the capital campaign so far?

Are the contracts of Steve Cowan, Jim Packer and Roland Pippin not being renewed for next school year? If so, why? Are Packer and Pippin tenured? Did LC declare financial exigency? If so, why? Are other contracts not being renewed? Have any programs been cut?

We received an anonymous letter today saying that faculty are being asked to recruit students personally. Is this the case? Would you like to comment on that?

What is enrollment this semester? How does that compare to last semester and last year?

Please get back to me as soon as you can. I think the latest we can wait is 5:30 or 6 p.m. You can reach me at this email or at [phone number redacted], as always. I'm copying John Willie to the email just to make sure you get it.


     This action is so egregious I’m not even sure how to begin my commentary so let’s take a closer look. Here is who was included in the email from the President:

Tommy French, Chairman
Randy Harper, Vice Chairman
Roy Davis, Secretary
Clay Crenshaw, Business Affairs
Steve Folmar, Integration of Faith & Learning
James Foster, Student Development
J.W. Hellums, Institutional Advancement
Johnny Hoychick, Academic Affairs
Ken Schroeder, New Program Development
Sam Camp
*Joshua Eubanks
*Mike Ferguson
*Jason McGuffie
*Pat Price
*Larry Pridemore
Candace Selman
*Ray Young
David Hankins – LBC Executive Director
Steve Horn – LBC Convention President

     Just so you know *designates new Board members. However, it wasn’t just Board members which were included, the following people were also copied:

Ingrid Johnson (an attorney)
Susan Nixon (the President’s secretary)
Daniel Kirk (the President’s assistant)
Argile Smith (one of the Vice Presidents of Louisiana College)

Question: So is this an email to the Board or is it not? Further more, if it is confidential Board material then why are non-Board members included? It closes with “Appreciating your prayers and leadership,” that sounds like the Board, but since when is an attorney, the president’s secretary and his assistant part of the leadership of the school?
     Admittedly, he is notifying these individuals of an article that has since run in the Town Talk… Shouldn’t the whole Board have been included? To answer that let’s take a look as to who was left off the email.

Jay Adkins
Lyndon Dawson
Jim Garlington
Glenn George
Ryan Gregory
Larry Hubbard
Michael More
Tony Perkins
Lonnie Scarborough
Roxanne West

     Anyone want to guess what all these names have in common? They are each Board members that have expressed some sort of concern over the current leadership of LC.
     These individuals were also not included but they are new Board members so I wouldn’t have expected them to be included:

*Joe Alain
*Charles Andrus
*Nathan Davis
*Jana Endris
*Jimmy Eppinette
*Lloyd Godley

     I do not know this lady and these men (In fact, I have not met any of the new members due to my absence at the December meeting) but what I do know is that 6 new members WERE included in the email and 6 were not. Why were some included? What were the parameters certain new Board members met that others did not meet?
     You will notice I have redacted the email addresses from my post. I do this out of respect for my fellow Board members, however I do feel like it is important that Louisiana Baptists and LC alumni have contact info so that they might be able to contact the elected members with questions and concerns so, I will consider making any of the Board members email addresses available to any Louisiana Baptist who would request such information (Board member emails only)
     I have not wanted to point out any sort of taxonomy, distinction or division among the Board… however, since the President has opened that door and once again made a questionable judgment call (this time regarding correspondence with the only portion of the Board of Trustees), I will simply offer the following… There are Board members who have expressed concerns. Apparently when we do, we are identified as troublemakers and are branded as one or more of the following: Calvinists (funny since there are only 2 of us who lean toward Reformed Soteriology), “the enemy,” or those who are “attacking” the school. The mantra now is that Satan is attacking the school. Well, I suppose that makes me a tool of the devil. But, let me be clear, I am a fourth generation Baptist pastor of a local Louisiana congregation which is part of the Body of Christ and I will not stand for being maligned in such a way.
     Keep in mind… these are the types of actions in which this President engages and it is the Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Director that continues to both protect and defend this President. Louisiana Baptists this is the way your school is administered, with innuendo, threats, secrecy and an abdication of reasonable judgment.
What say ye?

Semper Reformanda…
Soli Deo Gloria!
-Jay Adkins

P.S. By the way... is it legally permissible for a hand-selected, non-committee based group of the Board of Trustees of a Louisiana Corporation to receive privileged emails from the President while other Board members are left out of the loop? Just a thought...

And yes, I included the "confidentiality clause" on purpose. If you don't understand why there is no reason for me to explain it to you.

1 comment:

Mark Carroll said...

Thanks so much Jay for serving Louisiana Baptists with integrity and courage. Our church voted last night to designate our giving to mission organizations and Children's Home. No more money to the general fund. It is our small way of stating that we wish to support the activities of the LBC leadership no longer. BLessings!