Shorter University

Discussion in 'Online & DL Teaching' started by Kizmet, May 19, 2012.

  1. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  2. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    Yeah, there are tons of openings with more sure to come. A colleague recently interviewed with them. There are some extensive posts of interest on SaveOurShorter. I spent nearly an entire afternoon reading every post earlier this week. :)
  3. Wow, there are a TON of openings on their website.
  4. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    Shorter University? I wonder if there's a Longer University.
  5. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    With that many people leaving, more like "No Longer" University.
  6. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    Bans gays employees? I honestly have not read the story yet since I have to take my beast hound bulldogs to the vets at the moment, but how is that in compliance with employment discrimination laws? It seems as of late people are just hankerin to go back to the fifties or something. WTF?

    Now, I do realize this is a religious school, but you cannot say: "well, we might hire you if you are gay, but you cannot engage in gay love making because you will be fired". In essence, this is similar to "only men need apply", looking at it from a historic perspective.

    A bunch of bullocks.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2012
  7. StefanM

    StefanM New Member

    It's a religious institution, and it can make such an exclusion on religious grounds.
  8. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Yes and no. Shorter could certainly require new staff to follow a particular code of conduct as a condition of employment.

    However, Shorter is also trying to enforce the same requirement on long-term employees with tenure. In this situation, Shorter's action could be legally shakier, depending on the conditions of tenure.

    Tenure is basically a long-term employment contract. Shorter may or may not have legal grounds for suddenly introducing a new employment condition into a contract that was agreed upon years ago.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2012
  9. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Actually, Shorter's new "lifestyle statement" is even more sweeping than that. It requires employees to affirm that "I reject as acceptable all sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible, including, but not limited to, premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality."

    So it doesn't just bar actively gay employees. It also bars heterosexual or celibate employees from holding neutral or accepting attitudes towards homosexual behavior by others.

    The "lifestyle statement" also bans drug use, as well as drinking in public (including at "restaurants, concert venues, stadiums and sports facilities"). And it also requires employees to be active members of a local church.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2012
  10. StefanM

    StefanM New Member

    Tenure at religious institutions typically does not exempt a person from religious requirements. You can bet that there is a clause in the tenure agreement that permits these kind of requirements.

    Furthermore, religiously-based requirements are generally quite difficult to overturn in court. A court runs into major 1st Amendment and case law issues if it tries to compel a religious institution to violate its religious beliefs. Usually courts won't even try, even on arguably legitimate issues.
  11. StefanM

    StefanM New Member

    Actually, you can require this in a religious code of conduct. You can also require that an individual hold certain religious beliefs, including the belief that homosexuality is a sin. You can require that an individual believe that women should not hold positions of responsibility in a church. Heck, you can even require that an individual believe that the universe consists of pixie dust.

    Why? Because the 1st Amendment permits a bonafide religious institution to exercise its faith without government coercion, including in employment law.
  12. Well...all that doesn't seem to be working well for them. A mass exodus is never a good sign.
  13. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    I am just thinking out loud here. Does a religious school receive tax exemptions similar to churches? I imagine not since a school is a revenue generating business. If they do receive tax exemptions (schools), I think this is something that should not be allowed. By that, I mean, not only tax break wise, but employment law wise, etc. Same goes with preaching from the pulpit. I have been seeing a bit too much of that lately. Time to start taking away some tax advantages from churches that enjoy tax exempt status if they are going to start becoming political machines.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2012
  14. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    I think you bring up some good points. The crux of this argument is the changing of employment conditions "after" tenured staff were hired under the previous set of employment conditions. This basically constitutes a unilatteral change of agreed upon conditions according to the company policy at the time of hire. This lessens shorts standing in court.

  15. jam937

    jam937 New Member

    Tenure must be nice. Every job I have ever had they can change employment conditions at well and any time they like. I'd sure like to be able to ell my employer screw you, tough crap, doesn't matter your reasons (beliefs, financial, etc) , my conditions, benefits and pay stay! Of course they may go out of business if all my co-workers do this as well.
  16. Julie1014

    Julie1014 New Member

  17. StefanM

    StefanM New Member

    Typically, they do. Almost all of them are 501(c)(3) entities.

    Planning to amend the Constitution? That's what it would require.
  18. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    It's possible. But it's also possible that any such clauses in older tenure agreements are weak, because Shorter was historically looser about religious requirements than it is today.

    The mess at Shorter reflects a culture clash between the school and its trustees. Shorter is affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention (GBC), but it operated more or less independently for many years, and was relatively relaxed about religious issues. More recently, however, the GBC trustees have been asserting more control; they have been pushing the school in an increasingly conservative direction, culminating in the recent controversy. Shorter actually tried to break away from the GBC in 2005, but lost in court.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2012
  19. StefanM

    StefanM New Member

    There is a model for this kind of purge in Southern Baptist circles. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary – Louisville, Kentucky) has always had the "Abstract of Principles" as its official statement of faith (which was incorporated into its charter). For years, SBTS did not enforce the requirement on faculty, but as the Southern Baptist Convention's leadership swung more conservative, the seminary's board of trustees (appointed by the SBC) appointed new leadership (Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., who is still president of SBTS) that began to enforce the regulations.

    Shorter is old enough (like SBTS) that I imagine there is strong justification in the founding documents or other older material.

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