Jun 04, 2010 | Comments 5
According to an e-mail sent out by President Randy Ruble last Friday, May 28, 2010, layoffs and cutbacks are going to be announced at Erskine College and Seminary. There is a shortfall in the budget.
It has been fascinating to watch the spin that has been put on these layoffs by the secularist blogger at Erskine: Death Spiral, aka, Bill Crenshaw, and Aslan is not “SAFE”, anonymously written and supported, and also by the Facebook pundits. The spin according to Bill Crenshaw and others is this: IT IS THE FAULT OF THE EVIL INVESTIGATORY COMMISSION AND THE EVIL GENERAL SYNOD. Everything would have been hunky-dory if the Investigatory Commission and the General Synod had simply stayed out the affairs of Erskine College and Seminary and allowed the college and seminary to do whatever they wanted to do. Besides, doing it their own way is the status quo!
As usual, the Erskine people are UNWILLING to take responsibility for the financial plight that has come upon Erskine. Consider some of the things for which Erskine BoT, administrations, and faculties ARE responsible.
- They are responsible for building 40 years of mistrust in and ill will toward the ARP Church.
- They are responsible for ignoring and subverting the evangelical Christian mission of Erskine.
- They are responsible for giving only lip service to a statement on evangelical faith that directs that faculty members be evangelical Christians.
- They are responsible for bait-and-switch tactics that advertise Erskine as an evangelical Christian college that honors Christian faith and excellence in learning when, in reality, the institution is just another secular “church-related” school.
- They are responsible for the profligate mishandling of monies, for example, the overspending of more than $600,000 on the 2009/2010 class.
- They are responsible for suing the GSARPC in civil court, presently at a cost in legal fees in excess of $50,000.
- They are responsible for creating the disregard and contempt that many of the students have for them.
The budget restraints are tight and closing. Layoffs – NOT FIRINGS! – are the inevitable consequences of the high-handedness of the Erskine elite toward the ARP Church. A new President is not going to be able to work gratis and give back his salary in order to balance the budget. Attorneys’ fee will have to be paid for both an abortive civil suit against the ARP Church and an ongoing civil suit against the ARP Church. The story on the street is that both Freshman recruitment and Sophomore retention are down. Giving from alums and other donors is down. Also, the 2010 General Synod allocation of $575,500 is in doubt.
A cursory adding of numbers is not pleasant: $150,000 to $200,000 for the support of a new President; $100,000 to $200,000 in attorneys’ fees (and much more if the plaintiffs lose); $???,??? in the loss of students’ fees, state and federal scholarships money, and tuition payments; $???,??? in the loss of gifts from donors (for neither side trusts Erskine at this point); and, probably, a loss of $575,500 from General Synod. Math is not the Editors strong point; however, this looks like a shortfall of at least $1,000,000 – best case scenario! This translates into about 20 to 25 layoffs after the cutting stops. So, expect more layoffs later this summer!
All this could have been avoided. Noncompliance with and subversion of the mission and purpose of Erskine College and Seminary for 40 years have caught up with the Erskine community. Certain members of the BoT of Erskine did not have to take the ARP Church to civil court. This tragedy at Erskine is not the making of the Investigatory Commission and the General Synod. The Investigatory Commission only pointed out that Erskine’s leadership has been habitually unfaithful to the mission, and the GSARPC then acted appropriately. The fact that Erskine’s nakedness is on display for all to see is not the fault of the General Synod. That Erskine is stark naked with no fig leaves in sight is the doing of a rebellious BoT, administration, and faculty.
These are my thoughts,
Charles W. Wilson
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