Thursday, September 11, 2014

Part 7 - My Response to the SACS Letter

     For those of you who have been frustrated by the debacle that has been Louisiana College over the last few years and who rightly identify the previous president as a major factor in that terrible situation, may I remind you that had it not been for the active defense and protection of the LC president by the Executive Director of the LBC I believe that the Board would have dispatched the president in the Spring of 2013.
     I have been on record as publicly citing issues of integrity and undue/external influence at LC since early in 2013. I felt a responsibility to make such a public expression after witnessing and/or becoming aware of untoward and manipulative actions in and around the Fall of 2012 and only after my vocal warnings and protests were met with dismissive commentary and correlating votes from the Board of Trustees. At every turn the findings in the SACS letter validate what we've tried to say and I believe goes so far as to vindicate those of us who've attempted to passionately and appropriately address these concerns. Thus far, our words of warning have been ignored and/or dismissed. Maybe now Louisiana College and more importantly the Louisiana Baptist Convention will be forced to deal with these charges.
     I did not want to do this. I do not enjoy having people I don’t know (and some I thought were friends) belittle me and call me a troublemaker for simply trying to tell the truth and stand up to institutional bullying. As a trustee I am charged with caring for the school and I have taken that responsibility seriously… even to the point of personal embarrassment and misguided criticism leveled against my character. For the first few years I served as a trustee in naivety and with a Pollyanna view toward trusting leadership, but after a short time I began to notice inconsistencies, questionable actions, purported programs which seemed to falter one after the other and an unusual culture of blind loyalty. All this led me to take an appropriately critical look at what was presenting itself. I’m ashamed to say that it took a whole term to see these things but I’ve spent the second term trying to correct my inaction.

My heart is broken…  
     I hurt for those who've ignored our warnings. I hurt for those who’ve not had the backbone to stand with us. I hurt for those who’ve been taken in by misinformation. I hurt that there will be those who will not apologize and rightly and biblically seek restoration through repentance. I hurt that once again LC’s reputation has been tarnished. I hurt that there are still those who think they've done nothing wrong. I hurt that there are those who think I am in league with Satan. I hurt that reasonable actions and high academic standards have been compromised for the sake of ego, political maneuvering and personal theological bias. This has been a time of grieving for me and simply put… it has hurt me.
     But above and beyond all these things my heart is broken over the precious faculty, students and staff families and individuals who have been maligned, non-renewed, belittled, embarrassed, castigated and suppressed. These people are the real casualties of what has transpired at LC over the last few years. The retaliation from on high toward those who dared to "blow the whistle" is unChristlike and more than that, it is illegal. The needless casting aside of faculty who hold a particular soteriological position in order to garner the protection of one who would swoop in and successfully defend such an action (and inept presidency) through undue/external influence is tragic to say the least. The castigation of our former board chairman, Gene Lee (who has been a godly example of humility and who simply sought the truth by properly investigating what he was told) in some cases has been downright cruel. The manipulation of information, deception and total lack of transparency all have contributed to reasons why we are once again on probation.
     Even though there are many who think I have "spouted off, ran my mouth, aired laundry, acted unChristlike, and have personally attacked brothers in Christ" let me say the following. I have attempted to present my concerns by systematically and deliberately working through the given process. I have only done so with much prayer and contemplation. Let me explain... I had concerns with an individual exerting what I knew to be undue influence (which anyone in the academy would know is a transgression of 3.2.4.). I spoke to that individual on a few occasions but to no avail. So, I then took my concern to the LC executive board again… to no avail. I then presented my now growing concerns to the full board and again nothing happened to correct the issues. I even went so far to draft a censure resolution to address the undue influence that was being exerted on the board but stopped short of presenting it when I saw the clear and distinct lines of demarcation. Clearly, by that point anything I would have presented would have been immediately dismissed and, believe it or not, I did not want to stir up any more strife.
     I continued to speak up when I felt the board was being manipulated even to the point of leaving a meeting in protest after a bizarre and unnecessary action was forced upon the board. I’ve tried to point out the issue with the LBC by offering a motion that pointed out that, according to the Bylaws and Constitution of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, the Executive Director actually is not afforded a seat on any of the four boards of trustees (see here and here) and I even referenced the possibility of accreditation sanctions in my motion when I wrote "WHEREAS Comprehensive Standard 3.2.4 of the Council on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) states: “The governing board is free from undue influence from political, religious, or other external bodies and protects the institution from such influence,” WHEREAS being found out of compliance with such Comprehensive Standards might result in further sanctions or even denial of reaffirmation by the accrediting body;" That motion was set aside (after the Executive Director himself dismissively spoke to the issue, which itself is arguably not an appropriate action to allow) to be handled by the Executive Committee of the LBC. The Executive Committee handed it off to the Administrative Committee which then (and I will be presenting more detail on this soon) offered a deficient, misguided and now verifiably contradictory response to my motion which was then presented to the full Executive Board and was ratified.

     I will be publishing my response to the LBC Executive Board’s actions regarding my motion within a few days. I’d like to ask each Louisiana Baptist to consider contacting members of the LBC Executive Board to suggest that in light of the now public SACS findings I be asked to address the full Board to (this time) be given a fair hearing in order to help remit the clear and now openly known and officially identified transgression of external influence (of which I first warned the entire convention in November of 2013).
     Let me further say (and this is not a threat, it is a transparent statement regarding what will be my response dependent upon how this issue is handled by the LBC) if there is any attempt to play off, minimize or dispute in any way the SACS findings regarding Comprehensive Standard 3.2.4 (external influence) I will be forced to once and for all publish hours of recordings, and explicit transcribed statements, that validate the SACS findings concerning the Executive Director of the LBC.

1 comment:

Mr. Whirley said...

Thank you again, Jay. All men of God should be marked by integrity and godliness both in public and behind closed doors. I am praying for the resignation of David Hankins, Tommy French, Joe Aguillard and the others who have so grievously failed LC students/staff and LBC church members. They must repent and resign that a process of healing might begin. Where are the men of God, men of integrity who should be crying for the truth to prevail at all costs? Truth, reform and revival comes at a high personal cost...a cost most pastors, unfortunately, are not willing to pay. This behavior by men given such a sacred charge is outrageous. I have no faith whatsoever in the current leadership in our convention or at LC. Praying for you as well, brother.