I had intended my next post to be about. LC and its relationship to the LBC. However, something has happened that I'd like to address first.
Lest one would wonder about how dissenting voices are treated by those in positions of leadership in the Louisiana Baptist Convention, I present to you the following email I received from Tommy French, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Louisiana College, just a little over 6 hours after I published a blog post titled Part I – On Power and Protection last Friday:
In your blog, “The Crescent Crier,” dated March 7, 2014 titled Part I – On Power and Protection you wrote, “My hope is that certain recordings (which I understand to exist but have not heard the content) would be released to the public.”
Then you wrote in the final paragraph, “I have recordings to back me up and would be more than happy to comment if provoked.”
Why would anyone with integrity want recordings released to the public if they had no knowledge of the content?
Are the recordings you possess, but have not heard the content, the same ones that you say will back you up?
You are not authorized to release any sensitive and confidential information concerning
to anyone without expressed permission from the College President, Dr.
Aguillard, or to me the Chairman of the Board of Trustees. This includes any
and all original and duplicates of any recordings made of any and all meetings,
gatherings, or conversations wherein any Louisiana College past, present, or
future affairs, involvements, plans, etc., were discussed, inferred, or
references made thereof. Any such items are property of the College. You
are not authorized to possess them and you are directed to submit them to me at
[address redacted] by March 14, 2014. If you do
not submit these items to me by that date, or if you continue to act improperly
through your postings or otherwise, you will be subject to any disciplinary or
legal actions allowed under law. Louisiana College
Please comply with my directive so there will not be a need for further action to recover the items and restrain you from improper board member conduct. Please notify me of any issues you would like to have addressed by the Board of Trustees for agenda consideration. As a board member, you should not publically voice displeasure, in reference to any
sensitive and confidential
matters, on websites, through the media, electronically, or otherwise. Board
member misconduct only brings harm and embarrassment to the College. As board
members we are to operate in an orderly manner to protect the best interests of
Louisiana College . Louisiana College
If you possess any recordings that are related to
Louisiana College they are the possession of
and you have no right to possess them. Also, you are under a legal obligation
to release them to me, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, or the President
of Louisiana College. Louisiana College
T. C. French, Jr.
Chairman of the Board
What follows is my response to Dr. French:
I am pleased to respond to your email dated March 7, 2014 regarding my personal blog post titled Part I – On Power and Protection concerning my motion to the Louisiana Baptist Convention about the influence of the Executive Director of the LBC and that office’s interaction with the Boards of Trustees of the Convention.
Through detailed research, systematic exegesis and a thorough summary I showed that the Executive Director has no seat on the Boards of Trustees. Considering all the information I shared, it is disappointing that you only noted a sentence or two from the very beginning and end of my discourse which has nothing to do with the topic of my post. With that said, however you did ask a reasonable question regarding my reference to audio recordings.
You asked, “Are the recordings you possess, but have not heard the content, the same ones that you say will back you up?” The answer is no, they are not the same (although I suppose some of them may corroborate my concerns, depending on what is said on the recordings). As evidenced by Sunday morning’s article in the Town Talk newspaper there are recordings that have been made which clearly question the truthfulness of the LC College President and arguably “exonerates” those who brought the whistleblower allegations. I heard rumblings of the existence of such recordings but I had never personally heard them nor did I have empirical proof of the existence such recordings… that is, of course, until now… and it is as I expected it to be.
The recordings that will “back me up” are the official recordings of the proceedings of the Louisiana College Board of Trustee meetings regularly made by the Board secretary. As a Board member, who attended the meetings in question, I requested and received these recordings from the Board secretary, just as others have done previously (including, as I understand, the President of the college). I believe these recordings validate my testimony of undue influence by the Executive Director (especially considering that he should not even be present during the Executive Session meetings since he is not allowed a seat on the Board of Trustees as articulated by the Bylaws of the Louisiana Baptist Convention).
I made a request for copies of three recorded meetings, at separate times, in order to help organize my thoughts, provide further clarity, and to answer certain questions I had regarding rules of order, procedure and conflicting information in order that I would be best equipped to carry out my fiduciary responsibilities as a Board member.
I assume you know, Dr. French, that Title 12 “Corporations and associations” of the LA Revised Statues 12:226, regarding the liability of officers and directors in relationship to corporations and members, requires the following of officers of corporations:
A. Officers and directors shall be deemed to stand in a fiduciary relation to the corporation and its members, and shall discharge the duties of their respective positions in good faith, and with that diligence, care, judgment and skill which ordinarily prudent men would exercise under similar circumstances in like positions.
B. Any officers or directors who knowingly, or without the exercise of reasonable care and inquiry, consent to the issuance of shares in violation of the provisions of this Chapter, shall be liable jointly and severally to the corporation and any person who suffers any loss or damage as a result thereof.
It is clear that I am neither beholden to Chairman of the Board of Trustees or to the President of Louisiana College, but to the Louisiana Baptist Convention which twice elected me to the Board of Trustees and calls me to do my work “in good faith, and with that diligence, care, judgment and skill which ordinarily prudent men would exercise under similar circumstances.” Further, it is clear to me that any Trustee “who knowingly, or without the exercise of reasonable care and inquiry…” neglects his duty, “shall be liable jointly and severally to the corporation and any person who suffers any loss or damage as a result thereof.”
Thus, as a duly elected Trustee of Louisiana College, I have a fiduciary responsibility to do, not what I am told to do by you or the college President, but to do what is right and good on behalf of all Louisiana Baptists.
Furthermore, as I have already noted, I have in my possession an unsigned copy of the “confidentiality” document that is given to Trustees. After a lengthy time of investigation and contemplation, I discovered that our governing documents not only DO NOT REQUIRE a trustee to sign a confidentiality agreement, there is not even a mention of any sort of confidentiality agreement for the trustees to sign. I have examined our Articles of Incorporation, our Constitution and Bylaws and our Policies and Procedures of the College (of which I have intimate knowledge having been appointed to the small committee to revise and update the policy and procedures manuals of LC in 2009 or 2010) and no such mandate exists.
Upon election to my second term and after coming to the realization (1) that I felt as if we were not always being presented with the whole truth about issues related to the college, (2) my concern over stalled/failed programs which were eating through our budget along with the deplorable state of our facilities, and (3) the realization that trustees are not required to sign such a document, I DID NOT SIGN the document and further, rejected another copy given to me at a later date. However, even though I did not signed the copy (dated March 2012) and still have it in my possession, I take very seriously the responsibility given to me and have not divulged any information that has been presented in our Board’s Executive Session meetings. As I stated in my Friday blog, “the only time I will speak publicly about issues related to my Trusteeship is when I find unfair treatment or what I perceived to be untruths being presented to the public.”
You asked, “Why would anyone with integrity want recordings released to the public if they had no knowledge of the content?” Again, I was not speaking about the recordings of which I knew nothing (although I did hear murmurings about what might be on those recordings and I always want truth to be exposed). Rather, I was speaking to the recorded meeting minutes that I hold. To further answer your inquiry, it is due to my desire to be a man of integrity that I reserve the right to speak out about injustice, influence and intimidation while serving on the Board. And as you well know [this statement is redacted due to information it contained regarding an Executive Session issue], so do me a favor and do not lecture me about truthfulness and transparency.
You charge, “You are not authorized to possess them and you are directed to submit them to me at [redacted address] by March 14, 2014.” You sir, are incorrect. At the beginning of my second term I did not sign the document you are referencing and I am not required to follow your directive here. I am a duly elected member of the Board of Trustees of Louisiana College and I am more than entitled to these documents and recordings. I will not be bullied, nor will I be threatened.
Finally you say, “As a board member, you should not publicly voice displeasure, in reference to any
sensitive and confidential matters, on websites, through the media,
electronically, or otherwise.” I can honestly say, I wish I did not have to
voice my displeasure. You further posit, “Board member misconduct only brings
harm and embarrassment to the college. As board members we are to operate in an
orderly manner to protect the best interests of Louisiana College .”
I certainly do agree with this sentiment, since I would argue that indeed there
has been misconduct by some members of the Board and those individuals ought to
be embarrassed. Louisiana College
I continue to remain steadfast in standing for transparency but (regarding matters of Executive Session along with numerous other bits of privileged information) have leaked no information, shared no documents, spoken to no one about Executive Session issues, nor have distributed or allowed anyone to listen to the recordings of our meetings. Although I am not required to, I will consider turning over my documents and recordings to the school when I rotate off the Board in November. Let me rephrase that, I would have considered it, but after being threatened with legal action I probably won’t since I might need some of the information to defend myself if I am attacked any further. In the spirit of truth and transparency I will also be posting the text of your letter and my response on my blog (excluding one line where I mention an Executive Session issue… because I don’t leak information).
In Veritas et Perspicuitas,
Jay Adkins, A.S., B.A., M.Div., Th.M.
Baptist Pastor and Member of the Board of Trustees of Louisiana College