Moreover, despite its many critics in the wake of demanding all faculty and staff sign a lifestyle statement declaring themselves in agreement that premarital sex, adultery and homosexuality were totally unacceptable for themselves and others, and pledging never to be seen having alcohol touch their lips in public, it never was in any peril in this regard. As SACS investigators themselves noted, quite a few institutions of higher learning take this or similar stances. Many also apply them to student bodies, which may be what happens next up on The Hill.
Shorter’s problem is with the huge black eye in much of this community and across academia that it received. The opinion held of it by possible future faculty, students and the non-fundamentalist portion of society has taken a real negative hit.
What Shorter did in taking this step probably puts it on an unofficial blacklist for organizations serving academics and impairs its ability to attract top faculty. After all, it basically fired most of the best that it had by pioneering the step that tenured professors also sign the statement, not just the new hires. SACS may give Shorter a pass on this; most of those who believe in freedom of thought will not.
HOWEVER, that action certainly wound up “cleaning house” — an estimated 84 faculty and staff departed thus allowing Shorter to bring in its own “right thinkers” a lot faster.
It also may have dented the student population (enrollment down 7 percent and at a big-ticket private college this means millions) but that will likely be replaced in time. There are actually parents/students who like such an image of hair-shirt moral standards.
There are a lot of similar colleges/universities across the land. It’s a big country and, while such attitudes are rapidly shrinking as is church attendance, a huge population can be cut up into small slices without any college dying of starvation.
Shorter’s problem, accredited or not, is with its new image and approach. Believing in Noah’s Ark will not replace a knowledge of Darwin in the modern world and sure won’t get one into graduate school. Even now the school’s former stellar reputation is in tatters as it seeks to divert attention to its cloak of many colors called athletics. Its highly-thought-of music/theater and sciences departments, along with such as nursing, basically have had to start over from ground zero after the mass exodus/purge.
IN THE COMMUNITY where it began, and that has long thought so highly of it, now large numbers — perhaps a majority — wonder whether it is the Holy Spirit or pure deviltry that has taken over there.
Just because Romans love the Victorian look of their downtown does not mean they admire a higher-education curriculum that looks as though it is wearing a corset and chastity belt.
It is good to see Shorter hanging in there as providing something beyond high school. However, this predictable SACS affirmation of its American right to make its own choices does not get Shorter out of the woods.
That said, and in the spirit of the season: Merry Christmas, Shorter. Enjoy the gift SACS gave you and try to make better use of it in the future.