March 14, 2014

Louisiana College: Satan is Working Hard, Stand with Joe

Rondall Reynoso

Recently,  Dr. Joe Aguillard, President of Louisiana College, sent out an e-mail (Joe Aguillard’s Request for Faculty and Staffinviting LC Faculty and Staff to a meeting where they would be briefed about the recent “attacks” against the College. Essentially the message was, “Satan is working hard. Stand with Joe.”

Louisiana College © 2013 Pamela Reynoso-2It has been rough recently for Aguillard.

First, recordings of Aguillard condescending to an employee with provocative statements such as:

The employee was “here to serve the President and show 1000% loyalty to whatever he does.”

“I am the employer and I sign your contract. You don’t work for the College. The College is not an employer. It’s a place of work. The employer is me and the employee is you.”

“Every office on campus is mine.  (pause for effect) Every office on campus is mine.”

“There is no freedom of speech here. I didn’t make that up. That’s the law. When a student says, “I have freedom of speech…” We have three attorneys who will laugh them into the ground because there is no such thing here.”

“I’ll put loyalty over competency with everybody that I allow to voluntarily work here, including student workers.”

“I’m going to make it very clear before people re-sign up. Don’t sign up here if you aren’t on board with Joe Aguillard. Cause it ain’t going work, it’s just not gonna work. That’s the way it is. Like my Momma and Daddy, you gonna live under my roof and eat my food and wear my clothes you will live by my rules.”

This story was picked up by the nationally followed Podcast Pulpit & Pen which has been interested in the issues at LC since Aguillard got rid of three Calvinist faculty last year.

For some reason Aguillard then decided to release a press release where he dishonestly claimed full exoneration of every accusation against him and publicly drew the integrity of Dr. Chuck Quarles into question.

Then it came out that Aguillard knew about the sexual misconduct and use of drugs and alcohol by Joseph Cole with two LC freshman before he hired him full-time. Further, investigation has also revealed that not only did Aguillard know about it but helped to cover it up.

It was also released that SACS (LC’s accrediting agency) documents were forged and that the school paid a sizable amount of blackmail money to keep Joseph Cole quiet after he had threatened to reveal this information.

It further came out a few days later that an investigation by the College’s attorney revealed that Aguillard had indead forged documents to SACS and the attorney ended up resigning from her position representing LC.

In response to all this Aguillard showed no contrition. In fact, he doubled down on some of his most offensive behavior. But, more shockingly the Board of Trustees executive committee, instead of reprimanding Aguillard showed their solidarity and publicly admitted to moving forward with a contract renewal for him. They claim, “we think he’s done a good job.”

It doesn’t end there. Jay Adkins, Louisiana College Board of Trustee member and former member of the Board’s Executive Committee spoke out against the power structures of David Hankins, Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Director, who quietly bolsters Aguillard’s strength from the shadows. Adkin’s comments were quickly followed by proof that Tommy French, in response, tried to bully Adkins into silence.

Yes, there is still more. When Dr. Aguillard publicly attacked the integrity of Chuck Quarles, who had previously remained quiet, Quarles was forced to release documents which demonstrated that Aguillard was dishonest about his exoneration and that Dr. Aguillard had lied when he had fought the charges of financial misappropriation which ended up costing the college its largest donor in history.

Another  Louisiana College Board Member, Larry Hubbard, then admitted that the board is kept in the dark about many issues and that bloggers actually know more about what is going on at LC that many board members.

And it keeps coming…documents were released and eventually a law suit was filed by Tim Johnson, Former Executive Vice President at Louisiana College and the former Board Chairman when Aguillard was first elected President, that shows proof that Aguillard violated the Colleges whistle blower policy when he released Tim Johnson. (Unfortunately, I’ve had a really busy week and have not been able to cover this but expect more on this issue.)

And, it gets worse. SACS confirmed to the Town Talk that they would be opening an investigation into LC because of the recent information made available. This comes just months after LC was removed from two years of “Warning” status.

Finally, two days ago rumors began circulating that Louisiana College was releasing more faculty. Finally, I have been able to verify through multiple sources that Steve Cowan (Christian Studies), Roland Pippin (Sociology), and Jim Packer (Business)  have been notified that they will not receive contracts for next year. Pippin and Packer are both tenured faculty but the cause of release is financial exigency.

For the first time in years, Louisiana College did not release attendance numbers this year. Unconfirmed reports indicate that student enrollment is 200-300 students lower than it was last year. Further, the freshman class may be as small as 100-150 students, which is less than half what it was when I was there. I can’t blame people for not wanting to send their children to a college that now has a considerable history of accreditation problems and documented dishonesty by the president. But, most importantly you can’t expect them to send their kids to a college when an employee gets rewarded after taking freshman to a hotel giving them alcohol, drugs, watching pornography and making sexual advances at them. That is especially true if the president covers the event up.

However, instead of repenting Aguillard sends an email to his faculty calling them together to discuss how the college has been “under attack.” He then quotes Isiah 54:14-17 and bolds “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.” Rather than praying like the tax collector, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ He distorts a messianic promise to Israel to justify his condemnation of those who speak against him.

Reports indicate that the financial situation at LC is so dire that there is talk of a 10% to 15% across the board salary decrease. While I cannot encourage anyone to send their children to LC and  believe that financial pressure is the only way to force a change in such an unhealthy environment, my heart breaks for those good people who are still at LC. When I was department head at LC, I made so little that we were only $100 over the cut-off for food stamps. My children relied on Medicaid for health insurance and my wife had no insurance (that was actually pretty common among faculty). We were living on the edge. A 10% -15% reduction of salary would have ruined us. I pray change comes to Louisiana College and the Louisiana Baptist Convention before the good faculty pay the price for the sins of the leadership.

ETA: New information is that Jim Packer has not been released. There is doubt about what his status will be next year at LC or if he will be there but, as near as I can ascertain, the narative is more complicated than a simple non-renewal.

 

Rondall Reynoso


Rondall is an artist, scholar, and speaker. He is currently an Assistant Professor at Lee University in Cleveland, TN. He holds an MFA in Painting and an MS in Art History from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY and is completing a Ph.D. in Art History and Aesthetics from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA.

Related Posts

The year without Easter

Evangelicals lose a poet, pundit, and president. Have they lost their testimony?

Exvangelical: Are We the Good Guys?

The Big God, Small God Divide at Christian Colleges

  • Richard Ott says:

    Why is this so surprising? Go back and look at how he arrived at LC ! I just pray that LC can become the great institution that it was before he took over!

    • Richard, That is a completely fair question. Those of us ho arrived at LC after Aguillard was in control beleived the narrative we were told. For, me I began to doubt that narrative in my first year. It quickly became apparent that the story was much more complicated. What has been interesting is to see the growing number of people who Joe brought to LC who have turned against him. I was the first to do so publicly as my faith and ethics could not support the administration. But, Tim Johnson’s defection to an Aguillard critic has been particularly telling since he was the Chairman of theBoard that made Joe President and worked closely with Joe for years. Finally, things became too much for Johnson. Even those who fully supporte Aguillard now are seeing his character as it has beome hard to miss. THose who do not see it at this point are missing the truth willfully.

      • Kayla L. Evans says:

        As a former student I can honestly say that even students questioned Aguillard. We knew that “something just was not right” even if we were not given the information to support our suspicions. Although he was new when I was there, we knew something was “off”, so after speaking to a few former LC student friends of mine, none of us are surprised by this (unfortunately).

  • My daughter is a current student at LC and we have many issues with the school at this point. She has felt that she should stay, but our other daughter is going somewhere else.

    • Kayla L. Evans says:

      Michele,

      I wish both of your daughters all the best, and I’m honestly glad one of them chose to go somewhere else. I hope the one that is staying there has a good experience but will leave if the ship starts sinking. My experiences there were certainly extraordinary (and not in a good way), so I hope she can have a positive college experience, which all students deserve.

  • I did not go to LC, but I did grow up and love the town of Pineville which LC was located. I think this is just an example of a sinner that needs to repent. We all fall short of the glory, but I pray that the Lord takes this place which I loved growing up around and some of my best friends went to school finds, and makes it a place that is a place where people are excited to go again.

    The lord gives and the lord takes away, but I just hope that one man supported by several others who are stuck in a southern baptist ways of arguing and fighting with someone…doesnt loose a great place where I know Jesus is Lord, because of his pride.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
    >