Survey Results: Cedarville University Stakeholders Speak
Discover the results of the feedback on CU Trustees' Decision. Stakeholders speak. Survey says…
Background: The Reason for the Letters
The Public Letters (Communications from Cedarville’s President and Trustees)
The first email that I received from the President of Cedarville as a donor and alum (April 25th) concerning the hiring, and sudden firing, of a particular faculty member troubled me deeply, as it did many others. The President clearly exercised distorted judgment throughout the entire process and he didn’t even seem to realize it. His blind spots were glaring. It was clear that his friendship biased what he heard, determined how he responded, and clouded his judgment.
I immediately began to write a response to Dr. White. Dr. White came to our church early in his presidency and I have spoken to him on various occasions both on campus and elsewhere. However, before I could send the reply, his second communication (April 27th), along with the accompanying video, was released. Rather than improving the situation, it only confirmed that the blind spots remained, and perhaps his failure in leadership was far greater than I first thought.
So I began to compose a letter to the Trustees of Cedarville and I asked a friend and trusted advisor to review it before I sent it to their attention. At that same time, the trustees put out a statement of their own (May 1st) concerning their three step plan that included a leave of absence for the President.
A Private Letter
During this time I learned additional information, as many did, about the specifics of the President’s actions and his communications with the board, the university and the local churches involved over a two year period. I took this time to revise my letter and I eventually sent it to the Trustees prior to their decision on reinstating the President.
In that private letter, I reviewed the facts as were known, expressed my great dismay, and shared my perspective. I asked them to correct any errors in my understanding and answer two simple questions. I know that the Trustees received my first letter before their decision. I do not know whether they considered it. To date, I have never received a response of any kind from any of the present board members, even though I know more than a third of them personally, and nearly all of those who hold the position of trustee emeritus. Dead silence.
There was a time, not that many years ago, when the leadership of the board called me for input and operated with transparency. Now, the trustees won't even acknowledge receipt of my letter, let alone answer two short questions. Times have certainly changed. For now, I will continue to keep my first letter private as I wait for a response.
*Update: You can read the Trustee Letter here
An Open Letter
However, upon reading the Trustees’ resolution on reinstatement (June 26th), learning of the resignation of two board members concerning that decision, and dealing with the continued silence and dismissive attitude from the Board of Trustees concerning my simple request, public outcry must now accompany private appeal. Thus, I am writing this open letter to address those larger concerns.
Those who know me, know my love for and long history with Cedarville University (see bio). On a rare occasion I have addressed an issue or question privately, but I have never before written an open letter.
I speak for no one but myself. However, I know that there are some who have wanted to write or speak to the Trustees. They are dismayed, disappointed, bewildered, and embarrassed. But some are also fearful. For if they cannot trust the Trustees with this decision, how can they trust them with their words? They fear personal retribution, or the impugning of their motives, or the twisting of their words. If this is your situation, perhaps this open letter will speak for you as well.