Louisiana College- Open Letter to the Board of Trustees by Dr. Scott Culpepper

Dr. Scott Culpepper

Dr. Scott Culpepper asked me to post his open letter to the Board of Trustees at Louisiana College. Dr. Culpepper and I were both on Faculty at Louisiana College and had many similar experiences. You can read, in part, about my experiences here and here.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Louisiana College Board of Trustees,

As an alumnus (1996) and a former faculty member (2007-2012) of Louisiana College, I urge you to take decisive action to restore the academic and spiritual integrity of our college by immediately terminating the employment of Joe Aguillard as president of Louisiana College and dismissing all charges against Joshua Breland and all other students involved in this recent fiasco.  I do not make either of these requests lightly or without good reason.  There are many who would attest to my conservative credentials, but I found that I could no longer serve under Joe Aguillard in good conscience because his leadership contradicts the very core of the scripture he claims to defend.  Public and private dishonesty, spiritual manipulation and intimidation, irresponsible anti-intellectualism, and presumptuous attempts to implement poorly conceived pipe dreams rather than responsible planning has characterized life at Louisiana College during Joe Aguillard’s tenure.  His recent attempt to penalize students for exercising their First Amendment rights is only the latest in a long series of poor decisions that have compromised the academic and spiritual integrity of Louisiana College.

            I was initially a supporter of Joe Aguillard and excited about the new direction of Louisiana College.  I had been concerned about issues at Louisiana College as a student and was hopeful that the new direction of the college would provide a fresh start in a positive direction.  Even when I started to hear disturbing stories about how the transition had been engineered, I hoped that reconciliation could be achieved and that the college would move forward.  None of that happened.  As my first year at LC continued, I began to be concerned about the grandiose announcements that were being made regarding the establishment of a law school with no clear plan for funding the venture.  I also became aware that many of my colleagues were struggling financially and yet vast amounts were being funneled for the building of a new football stadium.  Only the first phase of that project is completed nearly four years later.  I told myself that maybe the administration was just operating with the hope that athletics would make money to support academics, but it became increasingly obvious that little fundraising was going on to support the undergraduate program.  In fact, the undergraduate program, the traditional core of Louisiana College’s liberal arts program, seemed to be taking a back seat to the dizzying array of proposed graduate ventures that were being advanced by the administration.

I thought I was alone in my concerns for a while and possibly overreacting.  As evidence began to accumulate that my impressions were accurate, I started to compare notes with colleagues.  I discovered that several of them had similar concerns and also new information to add to what I had observed myself.  It also became obvious that there was no forum for faculty to safely speak to the administration about these issues.  Conversations I had with Dr. Aguillard about them generally degenerated into attempts on his part to find out who I had been talking with and reminders that we need to be careful of idle gossip.  We were told that anyone who went directly to the Board of Trustees without first speaking with Aguillard would be immediately terminated for insubordination.

My first direct encounter with Aguillard’s style of managing subordinates came in the spring of 2009 when I voiced concern, first through a series of e-mail messages and then through a letter sent to leading administrators as well as select faculty members, about comments made by David Barton at the spring commencement.  Mr. Barton made several comments at the ceremony that were erroneous.  Not only students but faculty members seemed to be taking his false assertions as fact.  I had already communicated to the administration before the event Barton’s well known reputation for distorting facts and his nearly universal repudiation by Christian academics.  I requested that Aguillard allow us to present the other side of the argument for students and faculty who might be aware of Barton’s factual distortions.  The response was bizarre.  Dr. Chuck Quarles had also written a letter in which he echoed some of my concerns about Barton’s presentation.  Aguillard requested that his personal assistant, Joseph Cole, vet my letter and Dr. Quarles’ for factual accuracy because we probably “misunderstood Bro. Barton.”  Cole was a music major with no background in history who had not even completed his undergraduate degree.  Aguillard finally called me in for a rather strange conversation in which I tried to convince him with historical evidence that Barton was incorrect, and he responded by continually asserting that I would believe otherwise if I felt the spiritual vibe at Barton’s headquarters in Aledo, TX.  The meeting ended with Aguillard saying that he forgave me for my letter.  When I tried to diplomatically say that I stood by the letter and was not apologizing for its content, Aguillard said it would be best for my long term future at Louisiana College to forget about Barton.  I am still convinced that if Dr. Quarles had not been involved as well and I had not just been selected as Professor of the Year by the student body that spring that my treatment at  this time might have mirrored the ordeal that Rondall Reynoso endured two years later.

My second direct encounter occurred in the early summer of 2010.  I had become increasingly aware of the deteriorating infrastructure on campus.  The information technology services were and continue to be an embarrassment.  The dorms and library were rotting even then.  I had just returned to my office after teaching a May term class.  My students in the class were upset because they had not been able to access e-mail for days; they were unable to read primary sources for the class that day because the blackboard server was down; several of them had major registration issues, and the classroom computers did not function that day.  As I sat contemplating all these frustrations, the melodic strains of “Home on the Range” wafted over Alexandria Hall from the sparkling new chimes that had been installed in our dilapidated headquarters through the generosity of an anonymous donor.  Sick and tired of the complete cloak of silence imposed by the administration on any hint of a statement that sounded like a critique or criticism, I placed a statement on my Facebook page expressing my frustration that we had money to install bells to play American folk anthems on the hour, but none to provide an adequate infrastructure for our students.  Several students and faculty members responded with their own frustrations.  Joe’s response was immediate.  He called me and two other faculty members to his office with no warning.

In my meeting with him, he claimed that the donor was very upset and that the donor had specified which songs he wanted played.  “Home on the Range” was supposedly one of them.  I am guessing he liked “The Wizard of Oz” as well because we often heard other triumphant songs to advance the Kingdom of God such as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”  I was very open and honest with Aguillard at this meeting.  I told him that I wanted to trust him but that I had serious questions about the direction of the college and his leadership.  He responded by giving me a trite illustrative story on gossip printed from one of those web sites that provides cribbed illustrations for sermons.  When I said that there were others who shared my concerns, Aguillard responded, “Who?  I want to know all their names!”  When I refused to provide him with names, he accused me of lying about there being other concerned parties.  When he asked why I did not think that the administration was working to raise money to care for the campus, I indicated that the library roof was in disrepair, the dorms were falling apart, and the information technology infrastructure was shot.  When I mentioned the library roof, Aguillard shouted, “That is a lie!  You have been a pastor and you are lying about the state of our campus!” I later learned that a crew was brought in just a few weeks later to examine the roof.  Two years later, I learned from a student that both a donor and the Board of Trustees were going around campus asking questions but not about the condition of the campus.  They were asking questions about me.  To this day none of them, including the donor, has ever approached me or asked me anything about my reasons for expressing those concerns.  I am convinced again that it was only my good record and the verbal support of many students that protected me.  I am also convinced that this was the moment that the administration decided to make Rondall Reynoso the scapegoat for faculty dissent.  Rondall was only one individual involved in the Facebook posts, but as an Art professor with a small cohort who was unknown to many students on campus, he was easier to slander than the rest of us.  He also was known to challenge the administration on ethical issues when they were in the wrong.  Aguillard directly called Rondall poison in our meeting that day and said I needed to “pray about the influences on my life.”

While these two encounters represent occasions when I attempted to express concerns directly to Dr. Aguillard, we daily lived in an atmosphere of tension and paranoia.  Aguillard and many of his associates routinely acted in ways that were spiritually immature.  They made a regular practice of shunning people who displeased them by refusing to acknowledge their presence when they passed them in the hallway.  There was an expectation that, in the words of an administrator, “You must love everyone Joe loves and hate everyone Joe hates.”  My department chair increasingly put pressure on me to stop allowing people to come to my office who were considered critical of the administration.  Information technology personnel who could not keep the campus network operating in the best of circumstances spent an inordinate amount of time monitoring faculty e-mail and Facebook to look for “subversive” activities.  A spirit of fear and paranoia pervaded the campus.

We hung our heads in embarrassment as Joe launched a crusade against the “Satanic” Town Talkwhich dared to print the truth about his administration.  I listened to hateful diatribes in chapel and faculty meetings that contradicted everything we were trying to teach our students about developing the mind for God’s glory.  We watched as Joe ate worms twice, hired an actor to play a mentally retarded person to make a point about how we needed to be open to admitting people with mental handicaps, listened as he slandered Baylor University as a godless and secular school, and chuckled at the great bat infestation which the administration would never admit happened.  I listened to Joe lie repeatedly about the extent of our problems with SACS when I knew the truth and was threatened for sharing it.  The entire time my heart broke for my students, some of whom had no idea what they were not getting at Louisiana College and others who endured threats and intimidation because they knew exactly what was happening and would not stand for it.  In fact, those who are rightly expressing concern for the students now being repressed should know that there were many before them who were quietly dealt with by the administration and whose cause was not taken up simply because they were not ministerial students.  In fact, the Christian Studies department often warned their students to stay away from these students because they were “troublemakers.”

The tactics of the administration reached a new low with the Rondall Reynoso prosecution.  I will not retell the entire story because Rondall has told it well himself on several forums.  For my part, I was walking a very thin line because of my friendship with Rondall and my obvious agreement with his critique.  I was “asked” to recuse myself from his case, the only faculty case ever to reach the Faculty Advisory Committee during my tenure of service, because evidence would be presented about situations in which I had been involved.  This directive was sent down despite the fact that Carolyn Spears, a fervent supporter of Aguillard, was allowed to serve on the committee even though she was implicated in evidence that Rondall was presenting in his defense.  Aguillard’s “request” was delivered to me by Joseph Cole.  Cole walked into an upper-level class and interrupted me mid-lecture to hand-deliver me the document in front of a room full of startled students.  In addition to Rondall’s dismissal, another of my colleagues, Beth Overhauser was released from her contract despite the fact that she had been given a promissory notice that her contract would be renewed a month earlier.  Beth had testified on Rondall’s behalf, a practice that was permitted by the faculty handbook, and she also dared to suggest to Aguillard that she was concerned that his rhetoric in chapel regarding homosexuality might be tempered with more references to God’s willingness to forgive anyone who would repent.  Several faculty members assisted the administration in branding Beth a radical because we had read George Orwell’s 1984 in a faculty reading group.  They also said she was disparaging Louisiana because we read John Kennedy Toole’s Confederacy of Dunces. This book had been chosen by another member of the group.  All other books we read were chosen from a list of acknowledged classics by group consensus.  It did not matter.  She was given no contract while other faculty members received ours in our boxes during commencement exercises.  She had to request a meeting to get face-to-face confirmation from acting president Tim Johnson and Vice President of Academic Affairs Tim Searcy that she was not being renewed..

I could write an entire book chronicling the issues at Louisiana College.  Since this document is already longer than I planned, I will close by saying that the examples here could be supported by a ream of other incidents.  By God’s grace, He delivered my family from these circumstances last year when we received a call to teach at another private Christian college.  While I will not chronicle all of our personal issues due to our LC experience, suffice it to say that it was unbelievably stressful for our entire family.  Louisiana College administrators often brought up our families when reminding us that we needed to toe the party line, regardless of the truth.  They constantly displayed callousness towards concerns about the welfare of families and other innocents that stood in direct contrast to the compassion Jesus commands us to have for even our enemies.

For these reasons and many others that I have not had time to record, I state once again my impassioned request that you begin the rebuilding of Louisiana College by removing Joe Aguillard from power, rescuing the Christian Studies students he is persecuting currently, and dismantling the network of supporters who have enabled his ruthless leadership.  This task will not be easy.  There are many who would still be at Louisiana College who have been willing instruments in implementing Aguillard’s reign of terror.  Others have enabled him through their silence or by reporting on other faculty and students who sought to bring change.  Anyone who takes the helm will have to deal with these remaining corrupt elements as well as with a Louisiana Baptist constituency that has no understanding of how to foster a quality conservative Christian education.  In other words, you and the future president of Louisiana College have your work cut out for you.  But I am praying that you have been sent for this time, to this place, in this role, for such a time as this.  May God bless you and Louisiana College!

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Scott Culpepper

LC Class of 1996

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.

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This entry was posted in Faith, Higher Education.

35 Comments

  1. Lance February 24, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    I am a 2003 graduate and I am completely embarrassed to be affiliated with this school. Not one cent will be given to support the insane culture which Joe had ushered into the campus. Other prominent alumni I have spoken to agree. Action needs to be taken now.
    -Lance Wilks
    Class of 2003

  2. concerned person February 24, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    I’m not looking for a college to go to…but if I was, and even HALF of the stuff in this letter was true, I would NEVER attend LC! I can’t imagine why anyone would even go there. I understand keeping God up front in our lives…but I will not have someone shove it down my throat in my studies, and at the same time use it as a tool for their very destruction and manipulation. What a piece of crap this Aguillard must be! Get a life guy! I have a family member who has been attending school there…and I have heard some of the stories about the internet, poor living conditions, OUTRAGEOUS costs, and substandard facilities. So whether it’s one person’s fault, or many, I believe there has been some misappropriations of funds somewhere along the way.

  3. Jean February 24, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

    This is an excellent letter. I am a contemporary of JA and a member of the Central Louisiana community. You are very, very correct about the atmosphere of Louisiana College, a place I used to love. Will the Board be able to muster the courage to kick him out? Sadly, I have lost faith in them as well.

  4. Barbara Elkins February 24, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    We are so sorry to have lost you and so many other fine families who were such an asset to our little community. Thank you for writing this letter. May it make a difference for the future of LC and so others don’t have to be treated the way you and others who had to leave were treated.

    Barbara Elkins

  5. KB February 24, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

    My great-grandfather wrote the Alma Mater for LC, my grandfather was an alum, and both my parents are alums. Our family hasn’t sent a dime to the school in years because it’s such a mess. Sad to see how bad things have gotten.

  6. Fred Moore February 24, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    As a 1970 graduate of LC, I feel that it was probably best that you moved on. You appear to be a major stir up leader on campus. The only difference in Joe and Dr. G. Earl Guinn is that after he had met with you one time he would have told you to pack your stuff and get out., I know Joe is an outstanding educator and should not be bothered by your type. Move on and take the words Louisiana College out of your vocabulary.
    Fred Moore

    • Steve February 24, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

      Who needs a stir up leader? The school is doing a pretty good job of falling apart on its own. People with agendas make more complication of a simple situation. What other president/CEO of a business remains one while the company crashes? God allowed man to have logic. Use it.

    • MDS February 24, 2013 at 10:48 pm #

      Mr. Moore, Well that about sums up Dr. Culpepper’s statement. Your lack of evidence, facts, respect, or compassion reminds me more of Jonah’s refusal to obey God and preach to the Ninevites than it does Christ.

      • Scott Shaver February 26, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

        I appreciate the historical framework provided by you and Scott Culpepper on the years of this tragedy I missed after leaving Louisina. During my days as a Louisiana pastor there were a number of us who fought very hard to prevent Leon Hyatt and his henchmen (i.e. Aguillard et al) from accomplishing the very thing they have obviously managed to do at LC. Years back they ran under the banner of “Inerrancy” and branded those who did not toe their line as weak on the Bible. Most of the”Louisiana Inerrancy Fellowship” went on to become trustees and even a president at LC. Glad to see that both of you guys have recovered and been made stronger by your wounds.

    • Rondall February 25, 2013 at 12:23 am #

      Mr. Moore, The current accreditation situation with SACS would seem to be evidence contrary to your assertion that Aguillard is an “outstanding educator who should not be bothered” with my or Dr. Culpepper’s type. But even if I were to concede that point, the thrust of Dr. Culpepper’s argument and the arguments I have made in the past focus more on the moral and ethical failings of the current administration. While I could take the phrase Louisiana College out of my vocabulary, I cannot take the Lord out of my vocabulary and his name is being taken in vain through the actions of this administration.

      • Tim Kettenring February 28, 2013 at 10:20 am #

        The issue does not lie in the disagreement over Calvinism, nor the inaccurate perception of an influx of liberal instructors. It’s quite the opposite, actually. Regardless of denominational affiliation, Louisiana College advertises itself as a private, liberal arts institution. Most of the more “liberal” instructors who were hired after Aguillard’s nomination to the president’s office, are all gone now because of the lack of intellectual integrity that he brought into the institution. Louisiana College is not a divinity school, nor is it a seminary. Hence, it’s primary course of study should be one that prepares students for success in their chosen fields (majors) after they leave the indoctrinating concentration camp that it has become. Being a non-baptist, to read one baptist accuse another of being “liberal” is humorous to me. For the past 8 years, LC grads have been sorely underprepared for adulthood and “secular” work environments. The reasons for this are myriad: because of the insulated environment that Aguillard tried to create through aforementioned indoctrination (which, in and of itself, took many forms), the lack of quality curriculum that is used by comparable schools (Wheaton, Centre, Hendrix, Union TN et al) because these schools understand that not all of their students want to go into the ministry, and the stifling of ideas even remotely different than Aguillard’s (publicly and in classrooms). I understand that LC is funded and operated by the Louisiana Baptist Convention, however, every classes’ subject matter or curriculum doesn’t need to align itself with the BFM 2000. Doing so limits students’ exposure to any other worldview and thus leaving them with no concept of apologetics, or even basic knowledge of other world views (not to mention allowing them to access research in their fields; evolution, anyone?). In my not-so-humble opinion, the entire charter of Louisiana College needs an overhaul an the LBC needs to allow LC to operate unilaterally in order to realistically prepare their future students to be successful professionals, and hopefully through the examples of integrity and good character (such as those set by the writer of this blog) will encourage students to also be successful Christians. But students do not need to be manipulated, coerced, or outright forced to accept any form of indoctrination.

    • Cave Fan February 28, 2013 at 12:42 am #

      Fred, it seems to me that this debate has its’ roots in Calvinism, with which I disagree. While there are other concerns which need to be addressed at LC, doesn’t it all go back to a disagreement over Calvinism? It seems to me that LC is losing its’ Baptist identity, and needs to get back to the institution’s roots. Maybe too many liberal instructors were hired.

      • Rondall February 28, 2013 at 10:17 am #

        Cave Fan, There are certainly deep anti-Calvinist roots in the LBC. But, at LC Aguillard has lived with is for years even Championing some of the professors he is now attacking. In his hands the Calvinism debate is a tool not the root. I would also argue that the thing moving LC away from its Baptist roots are ethical issues not theological all faculty are required to sign off on teaching in concurrence with the BFM2000. The Christian Studies department at LC is thoroughly Baptist. I also don’t think liberalism is in anyway a problem at LC currently.

      • James February 28, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

        As a current student at LC I would completely agree with Mr. Reynoso. The last thing LC lacks is a cornucopia of conservative professors. It also wouldn’t make sense that the root of the problem is Calvinism, if too many liberals were hired. They hate the theology more than most conservatives, so to suggest that Liberals are causing a rise in Calvinistic theology, is highly unlikely. LC is losing its Academic Integrity, Moral and Ethical face, in fact has been for quite some time. Calvinism is a convenient, however not a wise, tool to use as a cover up. You can hardly blame deplorable facilities and inadequate faculty (who are conservative as the day is long), can hardly be linked to a theological position.

  7. Jonathan February 24, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

    I graduated from LC in 2004. I am a youth minister at a Southern Baptist church in Louisiana. I will NOT recommend my alma mater until Joe is gone! He is an embarrassment to the institution I called home for five years.

  8. Thomas Webb February 24, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

    Thank you for your courage in sharing this in such a public manner. While I was a student at LC (2003-2007), Dr. Aguillard and his administration created an atmosphere of hostility, mistrust, paranoia and fear, all under the veil of ‘christian leadership’. I witnessed as he deceived the student body, bullied and intimidated students and faculty alike, and actively suppressed any and all criticism, policing social networking sites and attempting to influence student government elections. I will be in prayer for the board of trustees tomorrow and in the months ahead. I am hopeful that this will mark a turning point for Louisiana College.

  9. Jet Carriker February 24, 2013 at 10:49 pm #

    I graduated from LC in 2003. I loved my LC experience while playing football and receiving a higher education. I am a teacher and coach in the DFW area. I will never recommend a student or student-athlete to attend LC until Joe is gone. Since I found out the true colors of Joe, I have sent five student-athletes to three other ASC schools (ETBU, HSU and MC). We have given money in the past to LC but we will never do so again until Joe is gone. If my own boy was a senior in high school, today and looking for a college or university to attend, LC would be plan Z.

    • Jonathan Bailey February 24, 2013 at 11:11 pm #

      Jet’s comment says a lot. Dr. A. is a major supporter of athletics. Jet played for the LC football team. He played a vital role in bringing football back to LC. For a student athlete to feel this way speaks volumes!

  10. bb February 25, 2013 at 8:08 am #

    Such a sad situation. Pretty campus with some outstanding faculty and all of this controversy…… Really feel for all of the students who love the school. Personally I would not want my children to attend there in this situation. Really sad for families who are in process of spending thousands on a degree that is not finished yet and the cost of the paper it is written on may be it’s only value if the accreditation issues aren’t worked out.

  11. Robert Rogers February 25, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    Class of 1979

    I can’t believe what I’m reading. LC, an institution of such high spiritual Christian values so vital to this world needs to speak with one voice and that is is the love of Christ.

  12. Dustin February 25, 2013 at 9:35 am #

    I was a big Pro-Joe supporter when I was at LC (2002-2006). I saw a lot of things take place during my years at LC. I was also the women’s assistant basketball coach and Intramural Director in 2007 with Coach Robin Potera-Haskins at that time is when I learned the true colors of the people I supported when they turned there backs on me for a split second. They believed someone who did not truly bleed orange and blue like I did and would not listen to me about this coach. Dr. Pack had a lot of say and in this but that is another story. You know I heard the apologies after apologies when she resigned. I am grateful for the opportunity that the late Coach Richard offered me to come back after a year of absence to coach with her until her passing. Since then I have not been back to LC. My heart is no longer with LC anymore. I don’t regret going there as I made a lot of friends that I still stay in contact with today but if I could I change anything it would be staying neutral in 2006. I just continue to pray for LC that God would intervene and bring it back to the prestigious college it use to be. It has all the potential to be one of the best colleges in the US.

  13. Carol Red February 25, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    I am a graduate of 1974, and watched the horrible changes that have happened with Joe Aguillard’s administration. I cannot support this current administration and would never recommend this college again unless changes are made. It was a wonderful college in my day exhibiting Christian values and encouraging students to stretch their intellectual potential. I hope the board will come to its senses before this school is totally destroyed.

  14. Leroy February 25, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    The fact that this has gone on for so long and the amount of resources wasted shows such a disturbing lack of discernment on the LBC and everyone involved. I would not recommend anyone attend any Southern Baptist College.

    • Rondall February 25, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

      I wouldn’t throw all SBC schools in the LC pile. I just finished producing the only comprehensive rankings of Christian colleges that exists. Some SBC schools did very well in the rankings.

  15. Chris February 25, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

    I concur with Prof. Reynoso that not all SBC colleges should be thrown in the same pile. At least one was in the top 10 of the rankings that he posted and several others were highly ranked. Hopefully things can be turned around at LC and I’m praying toward that end.

    I guess I’m such a radical that I could not wholeheartedly support (financially and otherwise) this administration nor the more recent ones that came before it.

  16. Tim Kettenring February 25, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

    As a student-athlete during the height of the leadership transition, there was a lot of attempted coercion on me by various members of the coaching staff and football team to be very vocal in my support of JA. During that very tense Monday evening board meeting in January of 2005, I remained very objective until I witnessed how the board operated. At the conclusion of the meeting, I made the decision that I was only at LC to play football, earn my degree and get the hell out. Luckily for me, during my time there, the only professors to make an impact on me were the ones who challenged me to think for myself. Even if thinking for myself meant questioning the very existence of God, if I could rationalize it, these select few professors were quick to concede to a valid argument. David Marcase, Dr. James Elkins et al were very influential in my intellectual development. I also had a unique perspective to some of Rondall’s ordeal during the 2009-10 academic year being the tenant of his guest house. I wasn’t a great tenant by any stretch of the imagination, but Rondall and Pamela were always very understanding of my occasional absence of responsibility. In doing so, he demonstrated to me his character and integrity. These two aspects of a person are irrespective of religion. The fact that Rondall exemplifies Christianity through his actions is what separates him from Aguillard. During the summer of 2006, a football coach had Aguillard influence Dean Thames into allowing me to live on campus for free by working in the president’s office. Aguillard had off the books meetings to discuss various members of the faculty, and former members of the faculty. Dr. Spears was one of my advisors as an HPE/History double major. She did little to nothing for me as an advisor, as I made my own schedule for 8 semesters. Aguillard’s education and CV do not qualify him to be the president of a community college, much less a private, liberal arts institution with the academic standards that LC used to have.” Since graduating from LC in 2008, I’ve become somewhat of a deist. One of the biggest reasons for believing this way, is that a lot of the rhetoric which I was force fed while at LC in my religious studies classes was unilateral and close-minded. Growing up as a the son of a very educated pastor, I was more than familiar with different theologies and he always encouraged me to find out for myself what I believed. Aguillard-led LC told me what I believed. Most of my experiences can be summarized by saying that my free speech was suffocated, my education was unilaterally compromised, and my preparation for “the real world” was nil. The reason a high school student chooses to attend a small liberal arts college or university (religiously affiliated or not) is to be challenged intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally. Since Aguillard has been at the helm, the majority of graduates have been robotic, socially compromised evangelists. I agree wholeheartedly that he needs to go ASAP. Similarly to Jet, I coach and teach in the New Orleans area, and I never recommend a student-athlete to LC and don’t plan on doing so in the future.

    I sincerely hope that in my sputum of verbosity that some insight can be gained from my very unique perspectives.

    Best,
    Tim Kettenring ’08

    • Jonathan Bailey February 25, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

      Wow Tim. Awesome letter. I am shocked (in a good way) to hear you say this. While I was there Joe made it seem like he had a great deal of support from the athletics department. After hearing from you and Jet I am pleased to hear that is not the case.

    • Thomas Howell February 25, 2013 at 9:42 pm #

      I was interested to read in Tim Kettering’s letter that two years after I departed I was Joe Aguillard’s “biggest target.” Since he has turned out be almost exactly the kind of president I said in 2005 that he would be, I suppose I can understand his attitude, but it still seems a bit pitiful.
      For the record, I’m not retired. I’m quite happily teaching in Missouri at a college that reminds me very much of the very good school that LC was for most of my 40 years there before things started to come apart. I enjoy the atmosphere so much that have no interest in retirement.
      While things turned out well for me personally, I am, of course, very discouraged by what LC has become. My grandfather helped found LC, my mother was a graduate and taught there for many years, I am a graduate and met my wife there whose parents and three siblings also graduated from there so I can’t divorce myself from it no matter where I am. So many deeply Christian people spent a lifetime building it up only to see much of their work destroyed. I work at remembering the good years, the great faculty that I taught with, and the many outstanding students that I had the pleasure of encountering and that have gone on to success in their lives.

    • Rondall February 25, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

      Tim, Thank you for your kind words. Nice to hear from you again. I am grieved every time I hear stories about how LC has harmed students spiritually, intellectually, or physically. That is not what Christian higher education should be about.

    • Derek February 26, 2013 at 8:35 am #

      Tim, please clear up one thing for me. When you said “free apartment”, was that on or off campus?

      • Tim Kettenring February 26, 2013 at 10:32 am #

        Derek, no. I have a feeling I know who you are and what your motives are. Feel free to email me to if you want clarification.

        And also, I should re-word my statement re: Dr. Howell being a “target”. He was simply a topic of conversation as having multi-faceted influence.

        Frankly, I feel that people who are going to read my comments are going to be vengeful towards me professionally and otherwise, so I am going to delete them. If any individuals would like to contact me individually, feel free to email me at timkettenring@gmail.com.

  17. Jarrod Hawthorne February 26, 2013 at 6:06 am #

    This news saddens me about LC. As an alum (99) who met my wife at LC (00 grad) with numerous family members who were grads over 4 decades, I pray that God will raise up the leadership needed at this hour to restore this school. As a La pastor I am more hesitant to recommend students to attend LC. I have been a vocal supporter the last several years with the leadership of Dr Quarles in place, I hope I can continue to support.  My wife can attest to the deteriorating physical conditions when she took some kids to a summer camp last year. First time she had been back and she couldn’t believe the conditions. The story about the chimes is funny yet sad. Thanks for your honesty and willingness to do the hard thing in sharing this. Praying for all involved. 

  18. Anonymous February 27, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

    Louisiana College is Daniel whereas Dr. Joe Aguillard is the lions den. I am a current student therefore I am staying anonymous.

  19. Linda Strickland March 17, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    Well, I graduated in the 70s. For many years I had been happy to tell everyone how wonderful L.C. was. My youngest child will be seeking a college in three years. For a long time I thought how wonderful it would be if he chose the same school I went to, but no more. I wouldn’t allow him to attend L.C. knowing these things, and will never send a red cent in support of this institution. Such a sad thing to hear of the condition of the school and the way it is being run.

  20. Heath March 18, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

    As a 2011 graduate, I have experienced first hand the decline of academics at the institution. When I first arrived at LC in 2007, the quality of academics was, in my opinion, top notch (although I later found out about many other greats that had left once Joe was hired). Year after year passed and these “greats” began to leave one by one. It saddens me to see such revered professors either leave or be relieved of their duties. I can’t speak for all of the different departments around the campus, but I can certainly say the Science division I left in 2011 was nothing it was when I began in 07. I hope with impending release of Joe, the college can get back on track and maybe attract some new intellectuals as well as keep the current ones who exhibit those top notch teaching qualities.

7 Trackbacks

  1. By Barton controversy at Louisiana College on February 25, 2013 at 7:38 am

    […] is near the center of a controversy at Louisiana College. In an open letter to LC’s trustees (posted at the blog of another LC former faculty member Rondall Reynoso), former faculty member Scott Culpepper […]

  2. By Calvinist Controversy at Louisiana College on February 25, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    […] the latest non-renewals. Scott Culpepper, a Louisiana College alumnus and former faculty member, calls for Aguillard’s immediate dismissal for “public and private dishonesty, spiritual manipulation and intimidation, irresponsible […]

  3. […] the latest non-renewals. Scott Culpepper, a Louisiana College alumnus and former faculty member,calls for Aguillard’s immediate dismissal for “public and private dishonesty, spiritual manipulation and intimidation, irresponsible […]

  4. By Calvinism is not the Issue at Louisiana College on February 27, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    […] Scott Culpepper briefly mentioned my story in his recent letter which was first published on this blog and then later in the TownTalk newspaper. Dr. Culpepper and […]

  5. […] Christian colleges, this time at Louisiana College. Here’s historian Scott Culpepper’s open letter to the LC board, explaining the reasons for his resignation from the faculty of that Southern Baptist school […]

  6. […] the latest non-renewals. Scott Culpepper, a Louisiana College alumnus and former faculty member, calls for Aguillard’s immediate dismissal for “public and private dishonesty, spiritual manipulation and intimidation, irresponsible […]

  7. […] the fact that Arminians such as myself also see issues at LC. You referenced Scott Culpepper’s letter which was posted on my blog Faith on View but ignored the plenteous information on the site which […]

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