Louisiana College Loses Largest Donor in College History Due to the Unethical Behavior of President Aguillard

Louisana College President Joe Aguillard

President Joe Aguillard

There has been  a lot of speculation over the last several weeks about what would happen to the funding that an anonymous donor has provided to establish the Caskey Divinity School at Louisiana College. Rumors have indicated that the donors are not pleased with some actions taken by President Aguillard. Speculation further heated up when it was announced that Chuck Quarles Dean of the Divinity School and Vice President for the Integration of Faith and Learning at Louisiana College would be leaving to take a position at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS). Reports indicate that Quarles will not hold an administrative position at SEBTS and will likely take a pay cut of over 50% all of which indicates that the current climate at Louisiana College has motivated him to jump ship.

The donors to the Caskey Divinity School have put all speculation to rest. Within the last week, they sent a letter to the Louisiana College Board of Trustees detailing why they are pulling their support for the Divinity School. The donors, who have given $5 million to the school over the last two and a half years and who by some reports have pledged $60 million, explicitly state that they “deeply regret that we must now discontinue that support due to actions of President Aguillard which we believe to be unethical and potentially illegal.” 

There is also evidence within the letter of the vindictiveness and control which Dr. Aguillard often exerts over his employees. Despite the rift in the relationship between the donors and President, the donors continued to respect Dr. Quarles and desired to work with him. However, the letter states:

Dr. Charles Quarles

We trust Dr. Quarles and believe that he has always been honest with us. We hoped that we could communicate with the college only through him. Evidently this has put him in a very dangerous situation. We have discovered that he has been placed under a gag order by Dr. Aguillard and that he has been warned that having any contact with a member of our foundation will be considered a violation of his contract.

There have been many reports of this sort of behavior on the part of Dr. Aguillard; but, never before has this behavior had such immediate and dire financial consequences for Louisiana College.

Perhaps the most shocking claim within the the letter speaks to the heart of the Board of Trustees:

Although we have wanted to protect our anonymity as donors to make sure that our gifts are for His glory and not ours, we were willing to sacrifice our anonymity in order to testify before the Board of Trustees last month. I was shocked when I had no opportunity to report to the Board what we have experienced. The Board’s disinterest in our testimony suggests that the majority of the Trustees do not wish to know the truth but intend to blindly support Dr. Aguillard despite his behavior that we believe is contrary to Christian principles.

The donors have dutifully retained their anonymity throughout the entire life of Caskey Divinity School, but they feel so strongly about what has happened at LC that they are now willing to speak up and make their identities known. Yet, the majority of the board is so committed to Aguillard that they would not even let the colleges major donors give voice to their concerns. The donors rightly imply that the board is more committed to following Aguillard than to the very “Christian principles” that they and the school are supposed to embody.

Graciously and “For the sake of the current students and faculty” the donors are allowing LC to hold on to what remains of the $5 million they have already donated rather than insisting that it be transferred to the North American Mission Board as is their right under the terms of their donation. But, the donors make clear that “If we discover that funds are misappropriated again and if Dr. Aguillard continues to mislead others regarding our statements and commitments, we will immediately request the transfer.”

To gain a donor with such strong financial resources was a tremendous boon for a small regional school like LC, especially considering the poor financial state of the school and as the donor states that “the buildings on campus are literally falling apart.” Yet rather than nourishing the relationship, President Aguillard has alienated the donor by misappropriating a portion of the funds already given. President Aguillard and by extension the majority faction of the Louisiana College Board of Trustees has potentially cost LC as much as $55 million in donations (that is twice the colleges annual budget) not to mention the donations which may have been secured from the friends and acquaintances of the donor through honestly and with integrity cultivating the relationship. Yet many on the Board, including LBC Executive Director David Hankins, continue to stand behind the misdeeds of the President hoping that the  ruckus they have engendered by targeting the Calvinists will distract the convention from the very serious ethical problems at Louisiana College.

Below is the entire text of the  donor’s letter:

April 15, 2013

Dear Trustee of Louisiana College,

Years ago I voiced a prayer to God promising that if He blessed me financially and materially, I would use what He entrusted to me for the glory of His Son and the advancement of His kingdom. God has blessed me beyond my wildest expectations and now I seek to fulfill this commitment to Him. I consider this a sacred trust.

My wife and I receive many requests for funding from many worthy causes. We pray through these requests and give as God prompts us. Several years ago, Dr. Joe Aguillard, the President of Louisiana College, approached us with several opportunities for investing in the kingdom. He suggested gifts to a law school, a medical school, and a film school. Frankly, God did not stir our hearts about any of these opportunities. But when Dr. Aguillard later mentioned the possibility of a Divinity School, we were immediately interested.  We love the Lord’s men who faithfully preach the Word of God and we were eager to support training for those who had no access to it.  Dr. Aguillard soon introduced us to Dr. Chuck Quarles whom Dr. Aguillard wanted to be Dean of the preacher’s school.  We got to hear Dr. Quarles’ vision for providing theological education that emphasized expository preaching with an emphasis on the great doctrines of our faith, evangelism and missions, and Christ-like character.  The vision was bigger than what we had originally thought.. It included advanced training for graduates from LC’s own religion department as well as the program for bivocational and smaller church pastors that we already had in mind. But we quickly recognized how strategic both of these programs could be and gave our blessing to the program. Before we could blink the program was approved by the accrediting body and up and running. We have been thrilled to watch the Divinity School grow from the ground up.  We have sensed God’s blessing on the work as enrollment steadily increased to over 100 in just two years time and as we have heard from students about the difference that the Divinity School has made in their lives. We believed that the Lord wanted the Divinity School to be our top priority. Over the last two and a half years, we have given $5 million to support its work.

We deeply regret that we must now discontinue that support due to actions of President Aguillard which we believe to be unethical and potentially illegal. We disapprove of his use of Caskey funds for LC Tanzania without our permission and consider this to be misappropriation. We have suspected for several months that Dr. Aguillard has been misleading others about our statements and commitments. We believe that Dr. Aguillard has told others about our statements and commitments. We believe that Dr. Aguillard has told others about pledges to the school which we never made. We thought that we could stop the deception by choosing to communicate with Dr. Aguillard in writing but we have reason to believe that Dr. Aguillard has distorted even our written statements.

We trust Dr. Quarles and believe that he has always been honest with us. We hoped that we could communicate with the college only through him. Evidently this has put him in a very dangerous situation. We have discovered that he has been placed under a gag order by Dr. Aguillard and that he has been warned that having any contact with a member of our foundation will be considered a violation of his contract.

In addition to our funding of the Caskey School of Divinity we have also provided scholarships to LC for eight students.  We believed in the mission of LC and wanted to help deserving young people go there.

Even though the buildings on campus are literally falling apart and the dreams of a law school, medical school, film school and LC Tanzania have been unsuccessful, it seems to us that you have enabled the attack of the divinity school, which has reached hundreds of people with the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and enabled many preachers to better serve their churches.

Although we have wanted to protect our anonymity as donors to make sure that our gifts are for His glory and not ours, we were willing to sacrifice our anonymity in order to testify before the Board of Trustees last month. I was shocked when I had no opportunity to report to the Board what we have experienced. The Board’s disinterest in our testimony suggests that the majority of the Trustees do not wish to know the truth but intend to blindly support Dr. Aguillard despite his behavior that we believe is contrary to Christian principles.

Since we no longer have confidence in Dr. Aguillard, since the Board apparently does not intend to hold Dr. Aguillard accountable, and since we cannot freely communicate with the Dean of the School whom we have grown to love and trust, we feel that we have no choice but to discontinue support for the Caskey School of Divinity. Words cannot express how agonizing this decision has been for us. We have been thrilled to hear of the thousands who have heard the gospel through the witness of the Caskey students and of the hundreds who have confessesd faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord. We were strongly committed to the mission of the school and grateful for the way that the legacy of James Steve Caskey was honored by its ministries.

For the sake of the current students and faculty, we will not at this time exercise our right to have funds that we previously donated forwarded to the North American Mission Board per our written agreement with the College. However, we will continue to insist that we be sent a detailed accounting of expenditures every quarter. If we discover that funds are misappropriated again and if Dr. Aguillard continues to mislead others regarding our statements and commitments, we will immediately request the transfer.

Dr. Aguillard has asked in the past for my help in soliciting donations from others. I believe that you will understand that I cannot do that with a clear conscience. It would be wrong for me to ask others to give to Louisiana College when I no longer have enough confidence in the institution to give any longer myself.

 

Sincerely,

(Redacted to respect the donor’s desire for anonymity)

 

 

 

Rondall

Rondall Reynoso is a NY educated artist, art historian, aesthetician, and speaker. He is a college professor and academic who is pursuing his PhD in Art and Religion in Berkeley, CA. Rondall has shown his work extensivey in over 60 exhibitions.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
This entry was posted in Faith, Higher Education.

8 Comments

  1. Jim April 24, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    Great news!

    • Rondall April 24, 2013 at 4:58 pm #

      It is only good news if the Board takes action. If they do not then the school will continue to struggle.

  2. Jonathan Bailey April 24, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

    When will this man be fired?!

    • Rondall April 24, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

      That is the question. There is plenty of evidence at this point that he should be removed from his position but politics seem to trump common sense.

  3. Josh Edwards April 24, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    I would like to know why Aguillard’s assistant for a number of years, Joseph Cole, was sent away to Austin with one years pay and ask to never come back. Joseph worked in the office of the President as a student and was taken on many facility trips to Europe thru the years at the colleges expense.

    • flip tip April 25, 2013 at 7:57 am #

      great question about his assistant. i’ve seen him at very questionable bars in alexandria, la. didnt know at the time he was aguillard’s minion. not good!

  4. jaya April 25, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    this is all about ohhh….almost ten years too late, but better late than never i suppose. that man has been a dictatorial crackpot from day one. the exodus of anyone with a functioning brain or heart (whether forced or not), was a big clue…

    • Rondall April 26, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

      No doubt. Many of us were not around for the exodus and believed the narrative we were told. But, what I saw at LC and from Aguillard did not fit. I was already seeing deep issues by the end of my first year but had no idea how truly bad it was. I am still shocked by it. But, many refuse to see.

9 Trackbacks

  1. [...] with the sole donors of the Louisiana College Caskey School of Divinity. Announced first on Faith On View, the anonymous family funding the Caskey School of Divinity recently penned a letter announcing [...]

  2. [...] Read the rest of the letter here. [...]

  3. [...] Read it here. [...]

  4. [...] « Louisiana College Loses Largest Donor in College History Due to the Unethical Behavior of Pr… [...]

  5. By What Now, Louisiana College? | Ken Fryer on April 25, 2013 at 4:14 am

    [...] Reports have surfaced that the principal donors to the Caskey School of Divinity at Louisiana College have withdrawn their financial support, meaning that the school will lose an additional 55 million dollars in donations from the Caskey Foundation.  Let that sink in: $55 million. [...]

  6. By Joe Aguillard: His Own Worst Enemy on April 25, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    [...] is no doubt that between the release of the letter from the Caskey Divinity School Donors and the publication of the internal investigation by the Town [...]

  7. [...] & Religion, with a focus on art history, at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. This article first appeared on his blog, Faith on View, and is used with [...]

  8. By Louisiana College and the Morality Flip Flop on April 26, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    [...] such as myself who feel that a change needs to be made at Louisiana College point to documents from Donors and Administrators that charge, convincingly we believe, President Aguillard with actions that are [...]

  9. [...] has created a lot of questions since part of the fervor over Aguillard recently has been his alienation of the Cason Family through the misappropriation of $60,000. Aguillard’s actions cost the College the support of [...]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*