It is curiouser and curiouser. The board members’ silence …

Comment on LSU board members do have whistleblower protection by Susie.

It is curiouser and curiouser. The board members’ silence has been deafening, while Wisbey and Graham are free to publish deflecting, misleading, beside-the-point, page fillers. The mere idea that board members are being subjected to discipline, like some unruly kindergarten class, just seems too strange to be true. If anyone were writing a novel about what has transpired at La Sierra, much of this, from Louie Bishop’s case, to the current state, would never have been written because it is too far removed from common sense and ordinary reality!

Susie Also Commented

LSU board members do have whistleblower protection
Apathetic members don’t get singled out for discipline. My guess is the three members who didn’t sing the cheer-leading song in unison and then attempted to send an S.O.S. notice to the GC are being strongly admonished to keep quiet. If whistleblower legal action does occur, it might be best for them to remain quiet now. Time will tell; sooner rather than later would be nice, though.

LSU board members do have whistleblower protection
There’s got to be more to this “disciplining board members” than huff, puff and bluff. Look what was done to Louie Bishop. If the LSU administration and legal counsel could use the lamest of excuses to enforce harsh and unusual punishment on a tuition-paying student, they are certainly capable of manufacturing something against “out-of-line” board members. Their zeal is not to be underestimated.

Here’s what we know (and don’t know):

1. The majority of the La Sierra Board of Trustees are unhappy that three of “their own” are not being compliant in maintaining the status quo. At a minimum, the board chair, LSU president and LSU legal counsel must have agreed to “discipline” 3 board members—or this absurd idea would have died on the vine. It is extremely unlikely that any of the other appointed conference officials would be treated this way, so either they are complicit in this action or they did not object in any meaningful way.

2. Shane Hilde made it clear that he obtained this information from a very reliable source, but NOT from anyone on the board—which leaves, who? Someone from the GC? Why? This was supposed to be another secret action by LSU’s controlling powers who want to get rid of anyone who dares to raise questions or objections.

3. What kind of “discipline” happens to volunteer, unpaid board members? If these members have been engaged in criminal activities, then it would be an easy matter to ask them to resign. It must be threats of removal because they dared to share concerns with GC officials. To save face the investigation will have to manufacture some sort of explanation for removal of board members before their term is up, which quite likely will include impugning their reputation, character and motives.

4.. Have any of these members spoken out in any public way to clarify? No. They must believe the threats against them are real and they are being constrained to remain silent. They also must believe that in order to stand up for principle and to accomplish something of value they should remain on the board, or they would choose the easy path and resign. What unpaid volunteer would willingly stay within such a hostile environment except for some very strong compelling reason?

5. LSU’s constituents, conference(s) and Union have authority and power that they ought to be exercising. Lacking that, what can the GC actually do? Surely they are not totally powerless. If they would publish what is already verifiable, and make that known worldwide— I dare say something would happen! They can withdraw SDA accreditation. They can withdraw the legal right to the use of the name “Seventh-day Adventist” which would have a train of consequences…

I’m sure wiser, more informed people at the various levels of church hierarchy can accomplish what is right. The question remains, do they have the moral backbone? In the meantime three board members, out of 22, are doing their best to stand for principle. If these 3 board members have no recourse except to use the protection of whistleblower laws, shame on those who have allowed this situation to grow and fester to such a degree, but it may be the only remedy remaining.

No, I don’t think ordinary blustering is what has been happening. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood.” The battle is serious, intense and not for the faint hearted.

LSU board members do have whistleblower protection
The bright light shining from Dr. Berry’s informative post, is this: “If retaliation measures are instituted against such board members then those who are involved in the retaliation are the ones subject to termination of employment or volunteer status.” It sounds like 3 board members need to be awarded distinguished service medals and the remaining board members need to be removed and replaced.

In this “land of the free” even private organizations cannot be a law unto themselves when that means subverting basic principles of accountability to their constituents, and the parent organization that funds them. Laws that are designed to keep people and organizations accountable are a necessity when those in positions of power and control abuse their positions by obfuscating, deceiving and hiding the truth, then bullying anyone who tries to speak up. Hopefully our elected GC church officials will do their job so that the court system doesn’t have to be employed to do what should have been done a long time ago.

Recent Comments by Susie

Board of Trustees Addresses Curriculum Proposal
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.

Board of Trustees Addresses Curriculum Proposal
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.

Former board member never talked with biology faculty
If ever truth was stranger than fiction, the unfolding La Sierra saga proves that point. Somehow in the midst of this hostile environment where everyone was forbidden to “talk” with everyone else–a tentative/temporary solution was offered. Board members (or two of them, apparently) had the gall to actually listen to and carry on some sort of meaningful communication with the biology teachers. The board appointed committee to analyze the creation/evolution concerns didn’t talk with the biology teachers. (Read their previous report.) I challenge anyone to read through the LSU by-laws and board constraints of recent years and not conclude that there is an extremely dictitorial-style (hide everything behind closed-doors) administration holding on to an inordinate amount of power. Communications between faculty and board members, between board members and the general public, and even between faculty and the general public, are either forbidden or carefully controlled. A few brave souls were willing to put their names on a proposal. Not a declaration. Not a “final document” — a PROPOSAL!! One that turns out to have enough redeeming qualities that the NAD and the LSU board (after having a hissy fit about “process”) were willing to endorse. A biology FACULTY proposal that appears to have been presented as a hopeful gesture to satisfy WASC and AAA or at least keep possibilities of resolution in sight. Our church doesn’t need to worry about the “second grade level” of its membership. Our church needs to worry about the large population of leaders and administrators with the emotional maturity level of two-year-olds.

La Sierra University Granted Window to Show its Faithfulness to Church’s Creation Belief
Shane pointed out what may be crucial in forcing LSU to choose it’s allegiance. Since Wisbey has pledged the administration and the board will “resist efforts that would compromise academic freedom and institutional autonomy” how can AAA’s requirements be met? Which one will LSU oblige? Wisbey has committed the school to an impossible dilemma. With WASC reevaluating, at any time now (if not already) the answer may be forthcoming quite soon.

LSU Board says ‘we apologize’
The memo, letter and attached report involves over 30 pages of double speak to address the creation/evolution controversy—it’s not hard to see where that tactic leads. Despite the words attempting to convey apology and reform and standing true for church principles, at the same time there are statements which excuse or provide convenient outs. Nor are there any real apologies noted. Where is a published apology to the hundreds of students in the past who signed petitions? Where is a published apology to Louie Bishop?

The Board appointed evolution/creation study committee concluded that any tangible hands-on-investigation such as looking at curriculum or visiting classrooms or talking directly with the teachers was beyond their expertise, therefore the Provost conceived the survey idea. But even with the survey results, notice this disclaimer: “The only way in which to fully benchmark these results, however, would be to have this same survey conducted by La Sierra’s sister institutions in North America. Without such comparisons, any criticism of La Sierra’s effectiveness at supporting Adventist beliefs relative to other institutions is speculative, at best. It would be helpful if other Adventist institutions could work on the curriculum challenges surrounding this issue in a collaborative manner.”

The philosophizing in the committee’s report does nothing to clarify; it supports the notion that no matter what is taught, it is under the rubric of higher education and academic freedom (yet still supposedly under the SDA umbrella — an umbrella that they have stretched beyond recognition)..“The educational enterprise by its very nature introduces students to new ideas and new ways of looking at the world that are often very different from what they have known before. This can sometimes create tension and anxiety, but never more so than when the new ideas seem to contradict deeply held belief whether in the social, political or religious domain.” Joel Martin is quoted, “Religion is not a science and should never masquerade as such.” Then further talk of the arrogance of both sides.

How can any organization maintain its distinct identity if it attempts to coexist with pluralism? Truth is always consistent with itself. Those of us who send our children to Adventist schools did not pack their heads full of Santa Clause stories and then complain because our children are being taught something different in their advanced classes. No, we brought them up believing in God, His Word and the foundational principles of Christianity (specifically the SDA worldview) and there is no reason that those beliefs should be attacked and discredited at a Seventh-day Adventist school. “Advanced” instruction in ANY field of learning taught within a SDA institution does not give license to discredit SDA beliefs and values.

Even though LSU is admitting that listening to constituents was lacking on their part, yet: “Nevertheless, at least as worrisome as the issue of how the university’s biology curriculum presents creation and evolution is the hostility and the lack of civility with which some members of the constituency have conducted the dialogue of this issue.” Well, that lets them off the hook! They don’t have to listen to anyone who doesn’t support their agenda, because of course, those people are not “civil” or “reasonable.”

And finally, all of this tempest in a teapot is going to dissipate because: they’re going to have ongoing workshops; ongoing surveys (which are only valid if the other SDA universities do likewise); they bring in people like Chris Oberg to explain scripture and LSU’s administration is on the job—neither faculty nor board members are to speak on their own. The faculty cannot because they are “not experts at speaking outside the classroom” and the Board, by their own by-laws, are required to put smiley rubber stamps on all actions voted by the majority (under the watchful eye of the president and the attorney.) All “results” will be filtered through the administration and PR. Furthermore the Board has been admonished to focus on the more positive aspects of the university. There. It is all fixed. And the future propaganda will verify the fact. Just wait and see.

Amidst all of this scrambling for explanations, where is LSU’s clear statement affirming creation? By comparison, here’s what a clear statement looks like: