A few days ago, eight faculty members at the General Theological Seminary in New York went on strike until their one demand was met. What was that demand? A meeting.
As of this morning, they have all been fired.
Here's why you should care about this:
It is a spiteful act. Take a moment to read the original announcement. The protesting faculty took pains to be as diplomatic as possible, leaving readers uncertain as to what their specific complaints were. The word "heavy-handed" does not even begin to describe the administration's response to their tact.
It is deceitful. The dean and president (who is also a reverend) reportedly announced to the student body that the protesting faculty had resigned. They did not.
It is unreasonable. The dean and president has basically fired people for wanting to talk to his superiors. In what universe is this an appropriate course of action?
It is stupid. Some of the faculty's concerns seem to be about the president's heavy-handed leadership style and his tendency to perceive discussion as dissent. He has not helped his case.
It sets a dangerous precedent. The erosion of the tenure system has already undermined academic integrity. If this act is allowed to stand, then a precedent has been set. Faculty protest against administration leads to termination. If you or anyone you love has any relationship whatsoever to higher education, then this is something to worry about.
I learned about this from a friend of mine at GTS. He is going through this right now. His wife also works at the seminary. They have two children. Here is how you can help them and the other people whose lives have been sent into a tailspin by this news.
1. Pray: Pray for my friend, his family, and his colleagues at GTS.
2. Share: Share this blog post. Share any of the links above. Draw attention to this issue.
3. Flood: The email Dean Dunkle. Readers of my blog have commented with contact information for the trustees.
By the way, I am no expert in Episcopal Canon Law, but Dean Dunkle and the trustees seem to be breaking it (opens PDF).
Seriously, this is insane. They only wanted to talk.
If you have thoughts or credible information about these ongoing developments, please share.
Originally posted at davidjdunn.com.