Crenshaw – FIRED!!!


Dear Readers of ARPTalk,

Below is a copy of an e-mail that Bill Crenshaw posted on the AFE site today, and I have also been informed that he posted it on the “closed” AFIE site last night. The post is a copy of an e-mail letter that was sent to President David Norman from the AAUP.

American Association of University Professors
Academic Freedom for a Free Society
September 6, 2011
Dr. David A. Norman President
Erskine College
P.O. Box 308
Due West, South Carolina 29639

Dear President Norman:

Dr. William B. Crenshaw, a tenured full professor and holder of an endowed chair in the Department of English with thirty-five years of service at Erskine College, has advised this Association of your August 12 letter notifying him of his immediate suspension with pay from his academic responsibilities pending the outcome of dismissal proceedings. Professor Crenshaw has informed us that he has been denied access to his office and to his college e-mail account. We understand that the letter was sent after Professor Crenshaw declined to accept an early-retirement agreement which would have paid him his salary through August 2013.

Assuming the accuracy of the information in our possession, we are writing to advise you that this action is unacceptable under the enclosed 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure and the complementary 1958 Statement on Procedural Standards in Faculty Dismissal Proceedings (also enclosed). We note that the procedures for dismissal set forth in pages 35-36 of the Erskine College faculty manual are essentially consistent with the key provisions of the 1958 Statement.

One of those provisions, which the faculty manual incorporates almost verbatim, is the following: “Suspension of a faculty member during the [dismissal] proceedings is justified only if immediate harm to the faculty member or others is threatened by the faculty member’s continuance.”

In an August 21 e-mail message to you, Professor Crenshaw questioned the basis of the suspension “because,” he wrote, “your documents have never indicated that you considered me a harm to myself or others. . . . ” You responded on August 23:

“Immediate harm to yourself or others would be threatened by your continuance. The reasons for this were set out in my letter to you dated August 12, 2011. There is one reason in particular that I would like to call to your attention. The College cannot permit you to hold your position on an active basis and while doing so [permit you to] encourage people to quit donating to Erskine and to quit sending their kids to Erskine.”

As far as we can ascertain, the August 12 letter did not ascribe any bases for Professor Crenshaw’s suspension, much less a perceived threat of immediate harm, and the reason given on August 23, even if true (Professor Crenshaw sharply contests its accuracy), hardly seems to involve an imminent threat to anyone’s safety or well-being, though its being employed as a basis for the suspension does lend additional credence to Professor Crenshaw’s claim that the actions taken against him were based on considerations that violate his academic freedom. In addition, since by your own account Professor Crenshaw’s allegedly “disloyal” speech occurred in an online forum, suspending him from his faculty responsibilities will clearly do nothing to prevent further such expressions.

We find it puzzling, moreover, that the same faculty member who, according to your August 9 proffer of early retirement, is “leaving Erskine in good standing” and whose “many contributions over the years are greatly appreciated” should by August 12 become such a danger that you would be compelled to suspend him immediately.

An administration’s action to suspend a professor from service, absent threat of immediate harm, is a matter of basic concern to our Association. We urge that the suspension be lifted, that Professor Crenshaw’s access to his office and to the campus e-mail system be restored, and that any subsequent action be consistent with the above-cited procedural standards. We look forward to your response.


Gregory F. Scholtz, Associate Secretary and Director
Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance
Mr. Joe Patrick, Chair, Board of Trustees
The Rev. Andrew K. Putnam, Moderator of the General Synod of the ARPC
Dr. Norton Bradley Christie, Interim Vice President and Dean of the College
Professor Brooks Kuykendall, Faculty Chair
Professor Larry Watson, President, South Carolina Conference AAUP
Professor William B. Crenshaw

I have five points.

First, it is gratifying to see that the stipulations of the deal that was offered to Crenshaw are about what I surmised. It certainly was a good deal. It’s a pity that Crenshaw violated confidence and broke the deal. Indeed, it was a good deal.

Two, look up the American Association of University Professors. It’s an “I-want-to-be-a-professors’-union-and-just-can’t-make-the-grade” organization. The AAUP is like a piss ant’s sting, or a mosquito bite on a blue whale. It’s annoying but not much more! Since 1963 the AAUP has had a ban on Grove City College (a Christian College in Pennsylvania). Now, look up Grove City College. Has the AAUP’s ban on Grove City College hurt the college’s growth or influence? To God that Erskine was as healthy as Grove City College!!!

Three, as of this afternoon, Dr. Norman has sent out two e-mails. The first was sent to Crenshaw that informed him that his employment at Erskine had been terminated. The second e-mail was distributed to the Erskine community and it informed them that Crenshaw was no longer an employee of Erskine College. For the last couple of months, Crenshaw has made an art form out of insubordination to and the bullying and insulting of Dr. Norman. Crenshaw’s past antics do not work with this brave young president. Crenshaw got what he wanted and deserved.

Four, what is Crenshaw going to do now? Does anyone want to wager with me that he doesn’t take this to court? So, how is Crenshaw going to pay the fees of his attorneys? Well, how were the attorneys’ fees paid for Chesnut, Taylor, and Young? What is the EC Foundation going to do with the “war chest” of money that they have? BTW, does anyone know how to find out what a 501.c.3 does with its money? Someone needs to look into what the EC Foundation is doing with the thousands of dollars that have recently been donated to the foundation this year. Is it kosher for a 501.c.3 (that was founded to provide scholarships at Erskine College) to pay attorneys’ fees so that a former Erskine employee can sue the college in civil court?

Five, I call on all ARPs and all evangelical Christians who love righteousness to stand with President David Norman. We have asked this young man to do the right things. He is a man of courage and integrity. We should stand with him! Indeed, God help us to stand with him!


Chuck Wilson

Editor, ARPTalk




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  1. Matt Danejur says:

    I agree with you on several points, but after reading some of your posts Mr. Wilson, I would never follow you. You seem like a very mean person. It seems you are joyous of one persons misfortune. Where you stand in your views in the direction where Erskine should go, and decisions it has to make, and getting rid of certain staff to do that is a good thing. These are sad choices, but they are being made because Dr. Norman is doing his best to be a good steward of what he has been put in charge of. I commend him on the decisions he has to make.

    However. If you are happy about the decision, great. But an individual has lost his job and is in a bad situation. People have commited suicide over such things. That is not something to rejoice. I feel that you have emphasized that. I find many of your postings on these matters hurtful to individuals.

    I would stand next to Dr. Norman in this case, but because of the hurtful things and lack of concern for PEOPLE who need Gods grace, I would never stand next to you sir.

    You are a Christian sir, as one do you believe that Dr. Crenshaw even a Christian. And if you believe that he isn’t do you believe that the Church should reach out to him.

    It seems that you are after people and wish to see their downfall more so than the build up of the kingdom.

    • Matt Danejur,

      Whoever you are, your fictitious name rhymes with “danger”; however, you are not dangerous at all. In fact, you are the least dangerous thing on earth – a person without a backbone. You hide behind a mask – a false identify. Your e-mail address is an “invalid” address. You, whatever your sex is, are a fraud, a coward, a joke, a hoax, a hypocrite, and something akin to what a dog leaves on the ground for people to step in.

      Don’t bother responding with the pseudonym of “Matt Danejur.” That name and address are now on the “black list.”

      If you want to speak with me, use your name and address as civil people do. Everything that you have written is laughable – especially the pseudo-pious religious crap that you vomited. I don’t care what you say about me, and what you said about Dr. Norman has no weight. May your hand be withered, your mouth struck dumb, your legs palsied, and your eyes be left bright to see the curse that has befallen you!

      As you see, I don’t countenance falsehood well, and you are a lie!

      Happy trails . . .

      Chuck Wilson

      • Graham Poolie says:

        Good Afternoon Chuck,

        I was struck a little by the harshness of your comment in reply to Matt Danejur. I hope you don’t think this is too disrespectful, but it troubled me that this situation would result in name calling. I realize that this is a situation that has inflamed passions on both sides, and I realize that occasionally that it can be easier to have an argument than a discussion, but we must remember that though our indignation may be righteous, we should never result to petty anger and wrath.

        While I do not agree with the previous commenter’s methods of posting, I do agree that delighting in the misery of another makes me feel uncomfortable. If we are to thoughtfully engage others(even those who do not wish to engage with us in a discussion, but may belittle us for our instead), we must start by offering a strong example of faith, not only in God, but in his ability to redeem others. If we do not, we are marred by the same sin as those who belittle us.

        Thank you for the coverage of this issue,

  2. Daniel Stephens says:

    Before the emotional firestorm begins, I’d like to make a few observations.

    1. “In addition, since by your own account Professor Crenshaw’s allegedly “disloyal” speech occurred in an online forum, suspending him from his faculty responsibilities will clearly do nothing to prevent further such expressions.”

    just because an act is repeatable after termination does not mean it is not good grounds for termination. If I went online and said a bunch of nasty things about my boss or told people not to come to our golf course, I’d be fired in a heartbeat. Sure I could continue, but I wouldn’t continue doing so as a paid employee of that organization.

    2. “We find it puzzling, moreover, that the same faculty member who, according to your August 9 proffer of early retirement, is “leaving Erskine in good standing” and whose “many contributions over the years are greatly appreciated” should by August 12 become such a danger that you would be compelled to suspend him immediately.”

    I don’t see what is contradictory here. The burden of proof is on them to show that it is a contradiction. Doing so will have to show that people cannot change and/or that people cannot act in multiple ways.

    3. Norman’s reason for immediate harm seems compelling to me. It causes immediate harm to an institution, especially one in financial distress. It can also cause harm to the employees of that institution whose pay comes from student tuition. Is it a knock down case? No. But here is the fun part–it is a stronger case than the supposed immediate and irreparable harm that the alumni and board members claimed in the injunction against the Synod.

  3. Dear Mr. Daniel Stephens,

    I think your analysis is spot on. However, don’t forget this: the AAUP is self-declared important. I have used a number of analogies to describe them. I like this one the best: they have the weight of the gas that someone has passed in a closed elevator – stinky and annoying! . . . but the elevator door will open in a second or two!

    This is the mountain that is going to be too high to climb for Crenshaw’s attorneys: INSUBORDINATION! In fact, it is insubordination that is easily demonstrated. Crenshaw’s words on Facebook and elsewhere are going to slay him. On public forums, he has insulted, bullied, belittled, and disparaged his “boss” and attempted to do harm – to do harm for goodness sake! – to the institution that employed him – and all this while he was still on the payroll!!!! That’s not an act of freedom of speech or academic freedom; it’s an act of sheer stupidity! – the action of a spoiled child who is throwing a temper tantrum and threatening to take his toys and go home. Well, go home, Bill! Why don’t we send him a box of tissues so that his mommy can dry his eyes and help him blow his nose?! Good grief!


    Chuck Wilson

  4. Roger Williams says:

    I attended Erskine in the mid 70’s and have attended an “ARP” church for the last 20 years and after reading the “tripe” that is on this site I do not want any part of the “religion” that you are invovled in…

  5. Seth Stark says:

    Thank you, Dr. Wilson, for your continued diligence in reporting important news regarding Erskine and the ARP on this site. I 100% agree with you that all ARPers need to be standing with Dr. Norman, who has done an outstanding job of reforming Erskine since he took the reins as President.

    I must ask though, how can an ARPer stand with Dr. Norman, while at the same time call for the ARPs separation from Erskine College and Seminary? I believe the best way the ARP can show its support for the good work Dr. Norman is doing is by redoubling our efforts to reform and support Erskine.

    With Love in Christ from California,
    Seth Stark

  6. Daniel Stephens says:

    Dear Dr. Chuck Wilson,

    I’m not sure that your theory about Crenshaw’s suspension makes sense of all the facts now that we can see this interchange.

    Your theory is that some contractual agreement was made between Norman and Crenshaw; this agreement had certain stipulations, most notably indemnification and non-disclosure clauses. If this is true, why is it that Dr. Norman received this email? There would be no cause for inquiry or frustration over the decision if it were an agreement. By signing a statement, both sides consented to whatever was written, waiving whatever rights and privileges they may have had to make the stipulations of the agreement.

    The second problem is with the non-disclosure and indemnification clauses. What doesn’t make sense is why he would break such a contract and (I suppose) forfeit his benefits in the agreement by alerting an agency with no real teeth.

    Perhaps more curious is that the situation also doesn’t make sense without these clauses. Positing these makes sense of Crenshaw’s unusual silence, and it makes sense of why he hasn’t filed a lawsuit when he has threatened it so many times before should such a state of affairs obtain. It also makes sense why he hasn’t (to our knowledge) gone to an agency that can actually do something (like SACS).

    I could be misunderstanding things. I don’t have a better theory to supplant yours, so I apologize for being critical (in a good way) without contributing myself.

    Daniel Stephens

    • Dear Mr. Daniel Stephens,

      Thanks for your comments. Let me make the following three observations.

      1. According to the AAUP letter, the BASIC deal that I outlined was offered to Dr. Crenshaw.

      2. It seems that it took him some time to decide what to do with the deal. Perhaps he was surprised at Dr. Norman’s resolve. Four other presidents wilted before him.

      3. I guess he decided that he didn’t care about the money. Perhaps martyrdom called to him. Perhaps the opportunity for one last crusade called to him. Remember that he is still a child of the 60s. Who can see into that dark pool? I struggle. I too am a child of the 60s.


      Chuck Wilson

  7. Reiggin says:

    If Erskine, under Dr. Norman, continues to move away from being lukewarm in all that it does, perhaps its best days are still ahead of it.

  8. Dear Mr. Roger Williams,

    Thank you. I didn’t think it was sinister. I simply didn’t know what it meant.

    I’m old. This e-mail/Facebook language is a bit foreign to me. I still write with a fountain pen when I want to compose something of value.


    Chuck Wilson

  9. Ichthyic says:

    Relayed from:

    Hey, Chuck…

    While you apparently want to gloat about the firing of good teachers at Erskine, know that most alumni are quite concerned with the directions the ARP has been taking Erskine, as is the state accreditation agency.

    you did know that Erskine was on probation for failing to meet quite a few of your own accreditation board standards, like (direct quote from the probation statement):

    Erskine College was placed on Warning because the Commission’s Board determined that the institution had failed to demonstrate compliance with Core Requirement 2.2 (Governing Board), Comprehensive Standard 3.2.4 (External Influence), Comprehensive Standard 3.2.6 (Board/administration distinction), and Comprehensive Standard 3.7.4 (Academic Freedom) of the Principles of Accreditation.

    These specific standards expect an institution to provide evidence that (1) its board is not controlled by a minority of board members or by organizations or interests separate from it, (2) its board is free from undue influence from political, religious, or other external bodies, and protects the institution from such influence, (3) there is a clear and appropriate distinction, in writing and practice, between the policy-making functions of the governing board and the responsibility of the administration and faculty to administer and implement policy, and (4) the institution ensures adequate procedures for safeguarding and protecting academic freedom.

    It seems pretty clear Erskine is no longer free from undue influence from religious bodies.

    ARP appears now hell-bent (pun intended) on destroying the reputation and name of Erskine, and making it a laughing stock and useless as an institution of higher learning.

    Have you ever heard the expression: Shooting yourself in the foot?

    youre destroying the future for your own kids.

    good luck with that?

  10. Ichthyic says:

    Relayed from:

    Please, dont forget what the results of the current ARP meddling has been; the issue with accreditation is important, and the problems are continuing:

  11. Ichthyic,

    Don’t attempt to comment again: you are blocked! Cowards who refuse to identify themselves are beyond loathsome. They are often misinformed too – as in your case!

    I allowed your comments to stand because they give me the opportunity to once again inform people that SACS has removed the sanctions of which you speak. How much do you want to bet that the matters involving Dr. Crenshaw’s removal will pass muster with SACS? Did you miss the memo from Dr. Norman?

    Chuck Wilson

  12. Angela L Bennett says:

    Wow, I always remember the members of the ARP church as gentle reverent Christian people of the Word. I guess I’m always learning that any denomination can produce a narrow minded blusterer.
    Yes Dr. Crenshaw was one of my professors but I could name a half dozen others that I liked and respected during my four years there. (Dr Gettys, Dr Little, Dr Kuykendall, Dr Junkin, Dr Engler, Dr. Carlock for example). So go ahead and call me one of his followers. Did I learn from Crenshaw? Sure I did. Did he influence me? Sure he did. So did a lot of others throughout my life.
    What I learned at Erskine was more valuable than the sum of facts and rules that I was tested on before I graduated. I learned to question the doctrines offered by any philosophy.
    As a result, I left the Southern Baptist Church because they weren’t following the second of the great commandments that Jesus gave us: “Love thy neighbor as thy self.”
    I am currently an active member of the Church of the Nazarene.
    My experience at Erskine was ENHANCED by professors like Crenshaw. Otherwise it would just be another joke like Bob Jones University.

    Angela Bennett
    Erskine Class of 1989

    • James Curtis says:

      Mrs. Bennett,

      It seems as if your belief is based not upon critical thinking (as Dr. Crenshaw would have you think), nor upon any biblical texts as you would lead us to believe (your reference to the second greatest command), but upon your own feelings that sway to and fro like a branch in the wind.

      Jumping from ARP, to SBC, and now a Nazarene? Not trying to get into a denominational battle here, but really? It sounds as if YOU are the basis of what is true, and not the holy Word of God. I cringe at what Erskine taught you when you were there. I cringe at the lack of teaching on biblical authority, and the emphasis upon the self.

      James Curtis

  13. Dear Ms. Angela L Bennett,

    My goodness, child! Bless your hear. Some metamucil fiber will help you with your sour disposition. Do come back when you have something to contribute.

    BTW, why do you BOIs beat up on Bob Jones University? I haven’t written about Bob Jones University. You BOIs seem to have a Bob-Jones-University-syndrome. I bet metamucil fiber will also help with that!


    Chuck Wilson

  14. James Curtis says:

    Rev. Wilson,

    After reading some more literature (if one could call it that) by the Alumni, I have found it interesting to see the Alumni want to take Erskine away from Biblical authority under the guise of “Christian love.”

    James Curtis


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