Higher Ed And Low Motives

Salon has an excellent, and exceedingly true tale of greed, manipulation, deception, and misrepresentation.  Not from Wall Street but from College Street.

In the midst of a fantastic piece you’ll read

… higher education is the industry that sells tickets to the affluent life. In fact, they are the only ones licensed to do this. Yes, there are many colleges one can choose from—public, private, and for-profit—but collectively they control the one credential that we believe to be of value. Everything about them advertises it. The armorial logos, the Gothic towers, even the names of the great colleges, so redolent of money and privilege and aristocracy: Duke and Princeton and Vanderbilt. If you want to succeed, you must go to them; they are the ones controlling the gate.

What they sell, in other words, is something we believe to be so valuable it is almost impossible to measure. Anyone in her right mind would pay an enormous price for it.

Another fact: This same industry, despite its legal status as a public charity, is today driven by motives indistinguishable from the profit-maximizing entities traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

And this

Grant to an industry control over access to the good things in life; insist that it transform itself into a throat-cutting, market-minded mercenary; get thought leaders to declare it to be the answer to every problem; mute any reservations the nation might have about it—and, lastly, send it your unsuspecting kids, armed with a blank check drawn on their own futures.

Members of administrations might not like these gruesome truths, but that doesn’t make them any less true.  Higher Ed has long ceased to be about Ed, and is simply now about Higher (tuition, prices, promises, lies…)

Examine the whole essay.  And then ask yourself a simple question- why has it come to this?  The answer is painfully simple: greed (by buyers and sellers).

Timothy Eberhart on the Situation at General Theological Seminary

On his FB page Tim writes

In thinking about the abusive, manipulative, and outright bizarre actions of the Dean and President at the General Theological Seminary, as well as the unprofessional and negligent actions of the Board of Trustees, I am aware of how calls and prayers for a “middle way” that “honors all sides” can serve to mask the immoral misuses of power operative in situations like this.

The GTS8 faculty have acted with moral courage, prudence, and fidelity to the highest ideals of progressive Christian theological education. By doing so – in doing what most of us hope we might do in similar situations – they have been unjustly dismissed from their faculty positions. Some of the faculty have young children, are just beginning to pay off school loans acquired in faithful pursuit of their vocations, and now face the prospects of re-entering a brutal job market while simply trying to make ends meet.

Others have served GTS for many years with dignity, are well-respected in their fields, and now confront the possibility of an abrupt end to their dedicated service to students, alums, and the church at an institution and a place they love. I am not praying for a resolution to this situation that honors the racist, sexist, and homophobic remarks made by the Dean and President, that recognizes the legitimacy of a leadership style inimical to Jesus, or that gives credence to the egregious failure of those entrusted to be wise and judicious stewards of the church’s institutions of higher education.

This would be a betrayal of the most faithful traditions of “via media.” I am praying instead that the truth that sets free will be revealed, that sins will be acknowledged, that harms will be redressed, and only then that reconciliation will take place. I am also praying for a future for General Theological Seminary that, precisely because of what is being revealed through this ordeal, allows its faculty, students, alums, and leadership to lead others of us in modeling new forms of theological education that are attentive to the Spirit’s life-giving creativity, shaped by the cruciform ways of Jesus, and hope-filled for the vulnerable world God so loves.

How Can You Resign and Not Know It?

In an unprecedented move, the Dean and President of New York’s General Theological Seminary (GTS), the Rev. Kurt Dunkle, has either accepted the resignations of eight members of the Episcopal seminary’s faculty or flat-out fired them.

Which is it? Depends on which narrative of events you read. What is very clear however, is that several tenured and untenured faculty members at the Episcopal Church’s flagship seminary have been let go, in part because they wanted to meet with the trustees and board about difficulties with working with Dean and President Dunkle.

Dunkle, a lawyer and litigator who went back to seminary at General himself to become a priest, has had a very rocky tenure since becoming Dean and President. The problems that the faculty have had with the dean include the following excerpt of a letter to the board of trustees (posted at safeseminary.org).

Oh Episcopalians…  your house is truly and well ruined.  Apparently becoming the ‘inclusive’ Church you thought would win the world to you didn’t work out…

The General Theological Seminary 8 Start a Website

So this will be the go-to place to find out the point of view of the fired (for all intents and purposes) faculty.

Eight of the ten full-time faculty members teaching at General Theological Seminary, New York City, have reported very serious problems with the seminary’s administration through a number of channels.  After being ignored for months, the 8 faculty wrote directly to the seminary’s board of trustees about a hostile work environment created by the Dean and President, the Very Rev. Kurt Dunkle, and then undertook a legal work stoppage.  The Board of Trustees responded that they accepted the faculty’s resignations, when in fact the faculty members did not resign.  The 8 faulty members are Dr. Joshua Davis, The Rev. Mitties McDonald DeChamplain, Dr. Deirdre Good, Dr. David Hurd, the Rev. Andrew Kadel, the Rev. Dr. Amy Bentley Lamborn, and the Rev. Dr. Patrick Malloy.  Please go to the “How We Got Here” tab for information posted September 30, 2014, and ignore the “See the latest” button below, which is not yet operational.