LSU student petition criticizes curriculum

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:

Dear Alumnus,

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!

[signatures]

Monte Bridges (History/Political Science)
Shawn Paris (Religious Studies/Pre-Seminary)
Manasseh Nwaigwe (Health Science/Pre-Med)
(300+ Students)

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.”

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.

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110 thoughts on “LSU student petition criticizes curriculum

  1. “If a worldly influence is to bear sway in our school, then sell it out to worldlings, and let them take the entire control; and those who have invested their means in that institution will establish another school, to be conducted, not upon the plan of popular schools nor according to the desires of principal and teachers, but upon the plan which God has specified.” — Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students p. 88.3

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  2. With your “inside information” you should be able to list dozens of faculty, staff, and administrators who supportive of our efforts to confront this problem, right?

    My question to you is why these faithful supporters at LSU, if they exist, have not stepped forward to confront the problems we are addressing here? Too busy? Don’t care? No backbone? Don’t “know” anything about it?

    Hi Dr. Stone,

    As in courts of law, the accuser is responsible for proving the guilt of the defending party. The defending party, in contrast, is not necessarily required to produce evidence to prove his or her innocence. They may choose to do so, but being accused, either directly or through association with an institution, does not require one to “step forward” to address “the problem we are addressing here.” It reminds me a of speech by former President George W. Bush in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, in which he stated that “you are either with us, or you are with the terrorists.” I was teaching in Taiwan at the time, and my attitude was that I was not with him, and neither was I a terrorist. I had the unfortunate experience of seeing the invasion on my 23rd birthday; not a celebratory event. I am using this anecdote to illustrate that a lack of response from “dozens” of faculty and staff on either side of the issue does not prove anything.

    While it is oft implied that perceived silence in the face of accusation or opposition is an admission of guilt (from LSU administrators, to criminal defendants, to the entire world Muslim population), there may be many reasons not to respond. One is ignorance or unawareness of the issue. Another could be the sense that the issue is not important, or does not speak to pertinent topics. Still another may be an unwillingness to enter a debate in which some or all of the arguments do not possess intellectual coherence. Yet another reason, which is my reason for not entering into the substance of the debate (note that I have only posted on issues of fact, tone or fairness and not on the central argument), is that scholars may refuse to enter into a dialogue in which there is an arbitrary limitation on the terms of the debate.

    In this case, by reading and dialoguing with a number of posters, I am led to believe that in this issue there are only two choices. I am unwilling to enter the quagmire of a forced binary opposition, when there may in fact be other alternatives and options. To enter into such a rigged system makes it impossible to remain intellectually and morally consistent. In the months before the Iraq War, I refused to enter a forced binary system: to be either pro-war or a terrorist. Neither label applied to me, and so I could not in good conscience enter a debate that would force me to choose one of them. This is just one example, and a personal one, not intended to speak for any other LSU faculty member, or administrator.

    Pax,

    David Kendall, PhD
    Adjunct Professor of Music
    La Sierra University

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  3. I’m not sure the church listened to EGW in her day very well either.But we have been warned that the last work of Satan would be to make the Testimonies of none effect.(And I would say, the Bible as well).  

    Warren, I said “many more” at least here in California. I applaud the Alaska Conference and its President for taking a stand for God’s Truth. You’re correct that the Testimonies are practically “of none effect” in many areas in the Pacific Union Conference, either totally or simply through routine “lip service” references to them.

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  4. @Ron Stone M.D.:

    I

    Bill, You are so right about pastors being intimidated.By who?Mainly by the conference office! Yeh, I’ve spoken to a number of pastors, who, when made aware of what is happening, say they “can’t say or do anything” or else the Conference will come down on them.What Conference?Well, since I’m in California, it would be the Pacific Union Conference.Maybe this is not such a problem elsewhere?Anyone care to give their opinion?  

    Regarding whether this is a problem elsewhere, I want to go on record that the Alaska Conference has excellent leadership. And I believe that is the case in many other conferences as well. Our Conference President has written a series of articles in support of Biblical Creation and has made it clear that we stand on the Bible.

    Maybe you don’t see what is going on behind the scenes as each conference and their leadership attempt to do their part to educate the people and lead them back to the Bible.

    At the same time, conference leadership cannot demand obedience of all the members, and so a gentle touch is needed so that the “smoking flax” of faith will not be quenched.

    I agree with the purpose of this website, but I think some of the posters on here could use a dose of meekness and attitude adjustments. Your zeal to correct the problem would be better spent in actually doing something about it, rather than writing inflammatory injunctions and name calling.

    In more than one area of life, I have learned that it is better to withhold the words until you have the action to back it up. Jesus cleaned out the Temple; He didn’t just sit on the sidelines and criticize what was going on. So if you have the ability to influence the leaders (or the members who vote for them), do so.

    But sitting on the sidelines and saying “Doug Batchelor” and “David Asscherick” (or other leaders) should do something may be counter-productive.

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  5. Dear Bill Sorensen (August 27)
    Your question: ” Is the General Conference willing to do it’s job? ” The GC has influence, but in fact cannot fire professors at La Sierra because they didn’t hire them. Neither do they regulate what happens there. That is the job of the LSU board of directors and the Pacific Union. Both the present GC President and the former one have made it very clear their stand on creation.

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  6. It seems obvious that the LSU Biology Department has no plans to change any time soon. I think the original function of this website was to inform the average Adventist of the concerns at La Sierra. Perhaps, now that that has been accomplished (if indeed it has) a shift in focus is in order. Perhaps it could become a site for sharing information that is helpful to creationists when confronted with evolution where ever they find it. It could include geological evidence, biological evidence and even evidence from outer space. We live in awesome times: new scientific material is being discovered daily. Just for example explore http://hubblesite.org and see all the beautiful pictures of stars, planets and space the Hubble Space Telescope sends to earth daily. There are so many fantastic discoveries, perhaps we could use the site better in a different way. Just a suggestion. I’ve really appreciated what has been accomplished through this site. Still it is easier to be “against” something than “for” something.

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  7. It is amazing that in spite of the number of very liberal students that are enrolled at La Sierra, the faculty blows them away by being even more liberal than their students. Just look at the things that the faculty promote: evolution, homosexuality, dancing, and who know what else. [edit] The second coming cannot be very far away, just look at how quickly our church is falling apart. The shaking is happening right before our eyes. People get ready! Turn off the TV, the radio, get out your Bible and the SOP and study. Move out of the city and save your children from the evil that is attacking them from every direction. Take them to the country where they can commune with God in nature as the great people of the Bible did. Abandon La Sierra and let it take its course to destruction. God will take care of it. Take care of yourselves and your children.

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  8. Thanks for bringing this item back into our memories. As we see, the “problems” at LSU have a LONG history, going back to when LSU became “independent.”

    Look who has led this place–Fritz Guy, Lawrence Geraty, and now Randall Wisbey! All liberal, progressives whose “world view” is to remake the SDA Church, starting with LSU into a secular, humanistic wordly institution.

    Is it any wonder we see LSU being led down the secular, humanistic “primrose path?!”

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  9. Now if God can and will save “the church” it certainly will not be by some hocus-pocus magic that people apparently seem to visualize. “Oh, don’t worry, Bill, God will save His church”, is the idea some express. And my question is “And how will He do that?”

    If God could save by some hocus-pocus magic, then He certainly could have saved the Jews. Or the early church from Popery. The condition of success for the church is always by way of response to reproof and correction by the scriptures. And since “the church” today seems less than willing to respond to the bible, we could only wonder if “the church” is not in the process of commiting the unpardonable sin like previously chosen instrumentalities.

    Do we believe EGW when she wrote….

    “God is weighing our characters, our conduct, and our motives in the balances of the sanctuary. It will be a fearful thing to be pronounced wanting in love and obedience by our Redeemer, who died upon the cross to draw our hearts unto Him. God has bestowed upon us great and precious gifts. He has given us light and a knowledge of His will, so that we need not err or walk in darkness. To be weighed in the balance and found wanting in the day of final settlement and rewards will be a fearful thing, a terrible mistake which can never be corrected. Young friends, shall the book of God be searched in vain for your names?” {CCh 188.2}

    We should have no misgivings as to what she means by this phrase “weighed in the balances of the sanctuary”. It means lost and rejected. So we ask, “Does she ever apply this to the SDA church?” Here is what she said…

    ” In the balances of the sanctuary the Seventh-day Adventist church is to be weighed. She will be judged by the privileges and advantages that she has had. If her spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages that Christ, at infinite cost, has bestowed on her, if the blessings conferred have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the
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    sentence: “Found wanting.” By the light bestowed, the opportunities given, will she be judged. . . . ” {LDE 59.3}

    Were you aware of this statement? Do you understand what it means? Did she believe in some kind of “unconditional election” for the SDA church? I think not. So what are the implications of the statement? I think we already know. But we need to be aware of its fulfillment right before our eyes and do all we can to see that this conclusion can and will be avoided.

    She had great faith and hope for “the church”. But she was not blind to the possible reality of the SDA church eventually being disqualifed as the instrumentality to present the final message to the world.

    It is my conviction that the message itself is infallible because it is biblical. But the church is not and can easily be led astray when those in position of influence and authority abandon their obligation and duty to deal with apostacy until the apostacy is so strong, there is no hope of recovery in the church as in the Jews rejection of Christ and the early church rejection of the bible.

    I still have hope. But it is not blind faith and hope as many seem to think in their view of “the church” and its election to finish the work.

    After all, this fiasco at LSU is just one of many scenarios that most are not willing to even talk about, let alone act to correct the errors.

    Keep the faith

    Bill Sorensen

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