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Louisiana College: Aguillard Fired!

It has been a long time since I wrote about Louisiana College. It has been just over a year and a half. I am writing today because there are developments that essentially put an end …

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Revisiting 2014…aka another top 10 list.

A little while back I had a fan of Faith on View message me on Facebook asking me to once again post regularly on Faith on View. Okay, truth be told it really was more of an internet friend teasing me for my failures. For those who follow this blog, they noticed that in September posts stopped fairly abruptly. What happened was that I had the wonderful opportunity to become a Senior Lecturer at California College of the Arts which is one of the top Art Schools in the nation. But, I had previously committed to teaching two classes at William Jessup University, an evangelical school in the Sacramento  area, and a class at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, where I am pursuing my PhD. This meant that in addition to the Theological Aesthetics course I was auditing from the esteemed Frank Birch Brown, I was also now teaching five classes at three different institutions. All that to say I was really busy and I let my writing on Faith on View slip. The good news is that this semester my teaching is reduced and I am only teaching one course at GTU and one at CCA. This should translate into more regular writing from me. I have a lot of ideas so I am looking forward to having more time to get them on “paper.”

Rondall, Pamela, and the kids in a fall 2014 portrait taken by Nicole DiGiorgio of Sweetness and Light Photography
Rondall, Pamela, and the kids in a fall 2014. Portrait taken by Nicole DiGiorgio of Sweetness and Light Photography

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Louisiana College Board Chairman prophesies a curse upon fellow board member

Tommy FrenchTommy French looks like an unassuming elderly preacher. He was the founding pastor for Jefferson Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1959 and served as the Senior Pastor there for 50 years. For the last several years, he has served as pastor emeritus. He has been respected within the Louisiana Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention, previously serving as both Vice-President and President of the Convention. He also spent a decade on the Board of Trustees for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary as well as two years as the Chairman of that board. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of Louisiana College.

With a resume like that one would expect behavior fitting the consummate man of God. Unfortunately, that is not what Tommy French has so far demonstrated in his role as Chairman of the Louisiana College Board of Trustees. French first gained attention for his behavior as Chairman of the Board when in March he threatened Trustee Jay Adkins for speaking publicly about ethical issues at LC and accused him of possessing materials which he had no right to have. French later became even more notorious when he lied to the Board of Trustees about SACS requiring an expanded confidentiality agreement. In July, French was one of two persons who received a copy of the damning letter from SACS. He ,shortly thereafter, promised trustee members who wanted to see the letter that he would “send information when it becomes available.” Despite that promise French held onto the letter for  a while two months until forced to release it because the Town Talk had obtained a copy. This failure frustrated trustees, including Jay Adkins, who in an e-mail to the board pointed out French’s failures at keeping his word.

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Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) confirms Louisiana College culture of dishonesty

Louisiana College LogoThursday Louisiana College posted the letter that they received from Belle Weelan president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC or more commonly referred to as SACS). This is a letter that LC officials (the president and the chairman of the board) received two months ago but refused to release even to the Board of Trustees until this week. Presumably, the reason that LC released the letter now is because the TownTalk newspaper obtained a copy of it and contacted LC to ask for comments.

southern-associationThe letter is a scathing indictment against both the Louisiana College Administration and the Board of Trustees. This is particularly interesting because many of us are watching LC to see if having Joe Aguillard out of the presidential office will actually indicate a change  in the way the college operates. Some of us are skeptical. Trustee, Jay Adkins, has even said publicly that nothing has changed. That certainly seems to be the case. Last week Joe Aguillard was praised in the first chapel of the academics year when the school held a ceremony to bestow the President Emeritus status on Aguillard.  During that chapel Aguillard was even compared to Jesus in his commitment to “[telling] it like it is.” Interestingly, the college for two months had this letter from SACS which tells a very different story. Yet, the college still chose to honor him. The TownTalk rightly pointed out that the letter from SACS vindicates the minority group of the board who have for almost two years been raising concerns about the college. It also vindicates former Vice-Presidents Timothy Johnson and Chuck Quarles for the concerns they raised about Aguillard’s leadership when they filed whistleblower complains in December 2012.

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Louisiana College: What about the Change, What about the Difference

President Joe Aguillard
President Emeritus Joe Aguillard

This semester I’m teaching five classes at three different institutions plus working on my PhD. So, while  have been getting ready for the semester my writing on Faith on View has been pretty limited. Few things, however, bring out my writing juices like Louisiana College news. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the situation at Louisiana College you can catch up here. The short version of the story is that for the last nine years Louisiana College has been led by Joe Aguillard who has been proven to have serious ethical issues including lying, forgery, vindictiveness, and more. An independent investigation by a law firm hired by the former Chairman of the Board of Trustees found that there was ample cause to fire him, an audit of school finances found serious financial control issues, and an investigation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools resulted in Louisiana College being placed on probation for Institutional Integrity among other issues.

In his song,,The Change, Steven Curtis Chapman sang, “What about the change, What about the difference, What about the grace, What about forgiveness. I want to live a life that’s showing, I’m undergoing the change.” Chapman contrasts this to our natural way of thinking where life revolves around us but we still employ Christian trinkets like key chains and bumper stickers despite any real evidence of change. After the last few years, LC needs to demonstrate the change and not just rely on the bumper stickers. The school needs to demonstrate its contrition.

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Top Christian Colleges 2014

Whitworth University
Whitworth University
Whitworth University

Faith on View produces the original Christian College rankings. There is no other comprehensive ranking of Christian colleges and we employ the most thorough and measures based rankings of Christian Colleges available.  The rankings continue to expand and develop. in 2013 we ranked 191 schools which has grown to 208. Additionally, in 2013 the rankings were based on 14 measures while this year we used 16 measures to create the best ranking possible. (see our methodology)

It has been encouraging to see the reception the rankings have received. They been viewed by thousands of people who use them as a resource. The rankings were also cited in an Atlantic article and have been referenced in a promotional way on the websites of many colleges including Wheaton College, Dordt College, Northwestern College, Milligan College, and Shorter University. Other institution have shared the rankings with their Facebook communities.

And now, here are the rankings for 2014…

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Southern Baptist Colleges Top Accrediting Agency’s Naughty List

southern-associationThe Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) just voted to place four institutions on probation and to end the accreditation of another institution. Inside Higher Ed focused primarily on two Southern Baptist colleges in their story about this decision: Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, Georgia and Louisiana College in Pineville, Louisiana. These two Southern Baptist institutions face the most serious issues. SACS has chosen to rescind Brewton-Parker’s accreditation, a decision that places the financial viability of the school in doubt, and Louisiana College (LC) has been placed on probation only six months after being removed from “Warning” status.

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Woes continue for Louisiana College even without Aguillard

Louisiana College LogoSeveral months back Dr. Joe Aguillard denied that the Southern Association of  Colleges and Schools (SACS) had reopened an investigation into Louisiana College. However, this afternoon LC released the following Press Release:

Louisiana College Placed on Probation by SACSCOC; Maintains Full Accreditation 

PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact John Willie, (318) 487-7194
[email protected]

PINEVILLE, LA. June 19, 2014 – The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) has placed Louisiana College on probation because of issues related to trustee board governance (3.2.4), institutional integrity (1.1), personnel policies (3.2.9; 3.2.10), and audit findings that pertain to some financial control matters and student financial aid (3.10.3; 4.7).

The announcement comes following a vote of the accrediting agency’s Board of Trustees at their annual June meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

“Although the decision is disappointing, it represents an opportunity for Louisiana College to address the issues in preparation for the arrival of a new president.” said Dr. Argile Smith, President pro tempore. “Fortunately, the issues don’t bring into question in any way the excellent classroom work being done by our professors and students. The issues have to do with administrative areas.”

The decision by SACSCOC does not change the status of Louisiana College as a fully accredited school. Louisiana College has been continuously accredited since 1925. In fact, the accrediting agency reaffirmed Louisiana College’s accreditation in December 2013. The faculty has worked diligently to maintain and exceed the standards set by the accrediting agency.

In accordance with its probationary status, Louisiana College remains fully accredited. A monitoring report will be prepared in advance of a SACSCOC team visit to the campus in April 2015.

To learn more about the recent SACS ruling and Louisiana College’s steps moving forward, a question and answer session with Wildcat Media’s, Al Quartemont, and Interim President, Argile Smith, will be available tomorrow.

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Trustee Calls for David Hankins’ Resignation

Pastor Jay Adkins
Pastor Jay Adkins

I previously reported that Jay Adkins resigned from the Louisiana College Board of Trustees. I learned today that my information was incorrect. He left the last meeting in protest but did not resign. Larry Hubbard did resign.

Today, Jay Adkins released a letter that he gave to Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Director David Hankins calling for his resignation. Jay articlulates three concerns with the leadership of David Hankins.

  1. Bias against Reformed Soteriology. Basically here, Adkins is pointing out that the broader SBC has chosen to make it not an issue but David Hankins continues to push the issue even arguing that the Baptist Faith and Message should be changed to disallow Calvinist perspectives.
  2. Interior Undue Influence on the Board- Adkins accuses Hankins of having too much influence in board decisions.
  3. Exterior Undue Influence in Convention Life- Essentially, Hankins weilds a heavy hand across the convention and is not affraid to weild the power he has accumilated.

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Is Blogging Scholarship?

This is a great little video that I ran across on twitter. It was shared by John Fea from Messiah College who was on the panel. The panel was at the Organization of American History …

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