UPDATED 4/30/11: Information from The Press Enterprise has been added to this article.
By Educate Truth Staff
Aug. 20, 2010
According to a Press Enterprise* article dated Saturday May 22, 1999, “A group of La sierra University students complained to the board of trustees Friday that certain required courses lack appropriate emphasis on Jesus and the Bible.” The petition was signed by 300 of La Sierra’s 1,400 students. In the article, senior history/political science major, Monte Bridges said, “Our biggest opposition is that it attacks what the school was founded on, which is the Bible. It says, in essence, that all religions are paths to the same truths. The problems is that Christ said ‘I’m the truth; I’m the way’ I’m the life.'” “We pay a lot of money for a Christian education and we’re not being given it,” Bridges said.
The LSU student paper, The Criterion, surveyed students and found 93 percent of the students opposed the core program of course requirements.
Then president, Larry Geraty, was also interviewed in the article:
Geraty said that although the university has students from more than 35 religions, its focus will always be in the Seventh-day Adventist tradition. The approach, he said, is scholarly, not Bible-study, as some students may have experienced in high schools. “It’s not like Sunday school,” Geraty said. “It’s not like family worship. I think it’s just a question of growing up. And that’s the whole reason why you come to college.”
Geraty said next year’s core courses will have more emphasis on the Seventh-day Adventist viewpoint but the course topics won’t change. “Anytime you introduce a new program, there are criticisms,” he said. “But we will take seriously the concerns of students.”
According to Steve Daily, the campus chaplain at the time, administrators have ignored students since the core classes were imposed in 1996. “The students haven’t been listened to,” he said. “They’ve been ignored.” “I think when that happens, there’s a problem,” said Daily.
The petition states the “C.O.R.E. Curriculum/University Studies program” at LSU is “unacceptable.” It goes on to list the “total unwillingness of administration to evaluate the program or survey student opinion, and the suppression of dissenting views relating to C.O.R.E.” as one of its eight reasons why the program should be dismissed:
We the students of La Sierra University have reached a crisis that calls for the desperate attention of all concerned parties. Due to the complete lack of respect on the part of the administration to listen and acknowledge the students and our complaints on the CORE curriculum, we have collectively gathered together to ask for help. In the last two weeks over three hundred student signatures (approximately one third of the student body) have been gathered to voice our deep concern. It must be stated from the start that this letter is only being sent out because of a desperate situation.
The petition that students signed, addresses eight issues. Stated on the petition are the more prominent reason for the dismissal of CORE. Your immediate attention to this matter is vital to ensure changes necessary in bringing this institution back to the Biblical principles that Adventist education was founded on. We believe that Adventist education is precious and rare and this letter is written in the hope that you will help to keep this alive. You can let your influence be felt by letting those in decision making positions know how you feel. It must be restated that your help in this matter is absolutely crucial to bringing about the changes desperately needed.
May God Bless you in every way!
Monte Bridges (History/Political Science)
Shawn Paris (Religious Studies/Pre-Seminary)
Manasseh Nwaigwe (Health Science/Pre-Med)
P.S. We can be reached at: FrustratedLaSierraStudents@usa.net
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
We the undersigned students of La Sierra University find the C.O.R.E. Curriculum/University Studies program to be unacceptable for the following reasons:
1. Its misrepresentation of the Christian God, and total lack of emphasis on Christ and the Bible.
2. Its underlying humanistic (versus Christian) values and foundation.
3. Its emphasis that “religions are different paths leading to the same truth.â€
4. The general inconsistency, unfairness. and incompetence of team teaching.
5. The general inability of credits to transfer in and out of the program.
6. The superficial, and liberal political content of the classes.
7. Subtle subversive attacks on Christianity and Monotheism.
8. The total unwillingness of administration to evaluate the program or survey student opinion, and the suppression of dissenting views relating to C.O.R.E.
*”La Sierra students criticize core classes” by Karen Joseph. Not archived online.