Board of Trustees Addresses Curriculum Proposal

La Sierra University’s Board of Trustees took two actions during an October 11, 2011, meeting. Both actions relate to a currently circulating document titled “Joint Proposal of individual La Sierra University Faculty and Trustees.”

Affirmation of document approach

The La Sierra University Board of Trustees has been addressing the issues surrounding the teaching of origins and has emphasized a balanced approach that encompasses the Church’s belief of origins as well as a presenting a rigorous scientific curriculum.

The conceptual framework outlined in the “Joint Proposal” is not inconsistent with faculty efforts, but failed to recognize normal and established governance protocols. The Board of Trustees affirms the working document, prematurely published as the “Joint Proposal” in the Adventist Review, and encourages the La Sierra faculty to integrate it into the work of the Task Force on Seventh-day Adventist Beliefs and Values that is proceeding through the standard university curriculum processes.

The board will continue to attend to this matter.

Concern over document distribution

The La Sierra University Board of Trustees expressed its concern to the officers of the North American Division over the precipitous action taken to publicize the “Joint Proposal” without adequate prior consultation with the La Sierra University administration and board, especially in light of the ongoing discussions with Adventist Accrediting Association and Western Association of Schools and Colleges over issues of university governance and institutional autonomy.

Statement released at La Sierra University’s website.

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17 thoughts on “Board of Trustees Addresses Curriculum Proposal

  1. No surprise here. Inherent in firing the three board members was the idea that they did not proceed through proper process.

    The rabbit is hidden in the phrase “scientifically rigorous curriculum.” if that means Darwinism as usual, no progress is being made. The larger church has made clear that it expects a scientifically rigorous defense of the faith, which means creationism.




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  2. You know, for a bunch of people who are supposed to be educated and able to understand the English language, they certainly do appear to be having a hard time getting it. Either that or, more likely, they are determined to have their own way in this issue.

    Perhaps it would be a lot easier all the way around if someone in the church leadership would get off their high horse and tell them, “Look, this is what the church believes (your employer, by the way), and this is how it is going to be. Like it or leave.” Were I in that position that would be how I would handle it. It would take minutes instead of years, the whole mess would be cleared up, and a lot of people could go on with their lives, secure in the knowledge that our church is still representing God the way it was founded to do.

    I will probably be told by quite a few people that such a method is not Christian, but I beg to differ with them. What it is is using leadership skills instead of being wishy-washy.

    These people are basically thumbing their noses at the entire church chanting, “I’m the king of the castle–and you can’t do a thing about it.” What a bunch of (ok, you supply your favorite adjective here). They’d soon find out if I was the one in charge, I can tell you. I’d clean that place out from top to bottom and there would only be solid, believing, true SDAs left when the smoke cleared.

    Cowed Canadian, my foot! (Sorry, David, no offense meant to you.) I am totally disgusted by all involved–with the exception of Educate Truth and its supporters.




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  3. Either you commit yourself to the teachings of the Church or you go someplace where you can tell your tale of evolution to those who are out-of-touch with biblical truth.




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  4. @David Read:

    It is interesting how easily three can be dropped from the board when leadership decides to act.

    How wise God is. As He has done in the past, so He works in the present. He removes our excuses and lets us reveal reveal our true character by the varying circumstances of life.

    We could multiply examples. The Cain that was too kind to “cruelly” kill a lamb for a sacrifice in obedience to God’s command, could easily kill Abel in defiance of God’s command. King Saul, who was too merciful to execute Agag in obedience to God’s command, could kill the high priest in disobedience to God’s command.

    Thus it has been through history. Ellen White makes insightful observations about Uriah Smith’s being too weak to provide energetic leadership for right, yet being plenty strong to provide energetic leadership for wrong in the original Battle Creek College crisis of the early 1880’s.

    We have certainly seen this same pattern at La Sierra. The same leaders that could not seem to act decisively and firmly when God’s character and truth were under attack, suddenly found the decision and firmness to fire the four men who attacked their own character.

    Now other LSU leaders who can’t act decisively in the face of rebellion against the church can suddenly act decisively against those who are seeking harmony with the church. All this reveals that these leaders could have acted decisively and firmly all along, IF THEY CHOSE.

    Of course, it should help us reflect on our own lives. What are we revealing by our own inconsistencies?




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  5. Excellent and thoughtful post, Phil. If Shane is right about the three board members being critical of Wisbey, and Wisbey using the pretext of out of channels communication to get rid of them, it shows that Wisbey actually has a good deal of power over the board.

    And if he could ruthlessly use his power to defenestrate the three female board members, it makes you wonder why he doesn’t use his power to do something about the Darwinist teachers.

    Same goes for Ricardo Graham. If he could force the LaSierra Four to resign within days of hearing the tape and reading the transcript, he also could ask the Darwinist teachers to resign.

    But neither man has done much of anything about the core problem, so far as I can tell. Apparently, for these men, subverting Adventism isn’t nearly as serious as calling someone a “eunuch” or communicating without permission. What a powerful man uses his power to accomplish says a great deal about the man. I now know more than I want to know about Randal Wisbey and Ricardo Graham.




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  6. I know from talking to a couple of reporters from Press Enterprise and Inside Higher Ed that Randal Wisbey was effective in shutting down communication between any outsiders and the biology faculty. It appears he made himself the only channel of communication between the board and biology faculty.

    I emailed Larry Becker about what bylaw the board members broke that was worthy of dismissal, and I have yet to hear a response from him.

    I would also note that board members at other universities appear to be free to talk to the faculty.

    Another interesting point. He removes three board members for trying to work on the problem and come up with a solution, and then turns around sort of embraces what they’re doing. He can’t publicly condemn it because everyone can see, whether you agree with what they wrote or not, that it’s a significant step for the faculty to be speaking to the church.

    Did he forbid the document from being published? No. If you’re really excited about seeing the biology department making advancements in solving the issue, why are you removing the people who are making that happen. He never did anything like that.

    What has Wisbey done to address and fix this issue? Nothing. He’s dragged it out, lied about what’s been happening, and told everyone involved to shut up or get in trouble. What on earth is he trying to do?

    Who knows, he might even be a part of the underground movement to sever LSU from the church by using WASC as the big hammer. It’s obvious from one former board member, there was interest in using WASC to manipulate the situation.




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  7. Shane, Regarding Board members being free to speak to the administration, faculty, and students, why wouldn’t they WANT to do this? How can a Board run an institution if they are totally unaware of the problems and issues facing that institution? Not allowing this type of communication is foolish.




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  8. I’d like to learn about the hierarchy of leadership, from a functional point of view. If there’s somewhere I can read thorough answers to all of these questions, I’d appreciate a link.

    Who/what are the members of the board of trustees?

    What gives them their authority?

    Who, if anyone, has direct authority over the board, and where is that authority from?

    Who reports *to* the board of trustees?

    How many layers of hierarchical authority are there between anyone or any group who could be called “church leaders” and the actual deans and professors?

    What entity, at the highest level, “owns” the school? Meaning the physical property.

    What entity, at the highest level, operates the school?

    I would hope the last two answers are the General Conference, but it could technically be separate. If that is the case, the GC could still remove all financial involvement, reassign any conference employees elsewhere, and force the school to not call itself an SDA institution.




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  9. It is clear that the way the La Sierra Board of Trustees “Addresses Curriculum Proposal” is to summarily vote off three of it’s members. The press release says that the Joint Proposal “failed to recognize normal and established governance protocols.” It appears that the only ones not following “normal and established governance protocols” were the remaining Trustees on the Board.

    As I comment on another “thread” on this site, Elder Wilson in his inaugural sermon as GC President said the following:

    “[The] Seventh-day Adventist Church both teaches and believes in the biblical record of creation … in six literal, consecutive, contiguous 24 hour days. The Seventh-day Adventist Church will never change its stand or belief in that foundational doctrine. If God did not create this world in six literal days and then blessed the Sabbath day, why are we worshipping Him today on this seventh-day Sabbath as SEVENTH-DAY Adventists? To misunderstand or to misinterpret this doctrine is to deny God’s Word and to deny the very purpose of the Seventh-day Adventist movement as the remnant church of God called to proclaim the three angels’ messages with Holy Spirit power. Don’t go backwards to atheistic or theistic evolution, go forward to the prophetic understanding that loyalty to God, the Creator and Redeemer, will be seen in the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath as the distinguishing characteristic of God’s people in the very end of time. Seventh-day Adventist Church members, hold your leaders, pastors, local churches, educators, institutions, and administrative organizations accountable to the highest standards of belief based on a literal understanding of Scripture.”

    These words of Elder Wilson were reassuring to thousands, if not millions, of Adventists around the world. It is up to Elder Wilson to make good on his word. I pray and believe that he will.

    We as committed Adventists must respectfully request that the President of LaSierra be replaced and that the Board of Trustees be reconstitued. I hope that you will join me in e-mailing Elder Wilson to that effect at wilsont@gc.adventist.org or by calling his office at 301-680-6000.

    May God bless the Seventh-day Adventist Church.




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  10. Somewhere along the way, the Board of Trustees has lost the Trustee part. Anyone who is not willing to be part of the administration’s rubber stamp club will be dismissed. Three new seats on the LSU Board are now available; qualifications as follows:
    1.Individuality is strongly discouraged.
    2.All candidates will be screened carefully to be certain no conservative theology lurks inside.
    3.No talking to the faculty or constituents will be allowed.
    4.Well-heeled puppets strongly preferred.




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  11. Susie about selecting new people for LSU…

    “1.Individuality is strongly discouraged.
    2.All candidates will be screened carefully to be certain no conservative theology lurks inside.
    3.No talking to the faculty or constituents will be allowed.
    4.Well-heeled puppets strongly preferred.”

    Exact same scenario followed when the conference asked our church to accept a new pastor.

    A committe of 7 were selected to interview any new candidates.

    No member was allowed to ask any candidate any questions.

    Some candidates were not even interviewed because they did not fit the scenario Susie has suggested.

    Most of the 7 selected were “me too” liberals who were selected precisely because of this description.

    Obviously, some were less than satisfied by the format the conference forced on the church for the obvious sake of control.

    At any rate. This is often the agenda used to fill any positions of influence and authority in the church or institutions of learning.

    I truly doubt that such agendas will cease.

    Bill Sorensen




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  12. Shane Hilde: I know from talking to a couple of reporters from Press Enterprise and Inside Higher Ed that Randal Wisbey was effective in shutting down communication between any outsiders and the biology faculty. It appears he made himself the only channel of communication between the board and biology faculty.

    I emailed Larry Becker about what bylaw the board members broke that was worthy of dismissal, and I have yet to hear a response from him.

    I would also note that board members at other universities appear to be free to talk to the faculty.

    Actually – that is the really weird part of this. Why in the world would they want to admit that they are trying to stop LSU board members from directly talking to LSU biology faculty?

    What other SDA University board “on the planet” has such weird science going on??

    — The BIGGER issue for the board should have been that given all the legal wrangling – they want lawyers approving every published statement supposedly coming from LSU or the board…

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  13. Susie: Somewhere along the way, the Board of Trustees has lost the Trustee part. Anyone who is not willing to be part of the administration’s rubber stamp club will be dismissed. Three new seats on the LSU Board are now available; qualifications as follows:1.Individuality is strongly discouraged.2.All candidates will be screened carefully to be certain no conservative theology lurks inside.3.No talking to the faculty or constituents will be allowed.4.Well-heeled puppets strongly preferred.

    Susie, But don’t the Board candidates also have to have “six figures” to be considered, besides those listed by Bob Ryan and yourself?




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  14. Holly, I concur with you that money speaks. That’s why I used the expression “well heeled.” Money is probably an unspoken but standard prerequisite, although in this case it appears herd mentality is the highest priority.




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  15. The recording gives evidence that not all were in agreement that “six figures” was a major criteria for Board members. However, it seems President Wisbey thought it of very high priority. The “herd mentality” you mentioned must be the highest priority, as we see from the recent firings.




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