Eight GTS faculty terminated

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Updated While social media has been abuzz today with news that eight members of the faculty of the General Theological Seminary had been fired, we have been attempting to get this news independently confirmed. Not long ago, we received this email that Dean Kurt Dunkle sent to the student body concerning these events. We will continue to follow the story.

Dear students,


By now most of you have heard of our Board of Trustees’ acceptance of eight faculty members’ resignations. I heard of this about the same time many of you did. I share in your sadness. With the following, I hope you will see this as one of many ways forward for the remainder of today.

At 5:30pm we will have evening prayer in the Chapel. Thereafter, any student, staff, or remaining faculty who would like to hear from Bishop Mark Sisk, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, is invited to adjourn to Seabury Auditorium. He would like to address us and then will respond to as many questions as he is able. We need to end by 7:00pm.

For classes tomorrow, I will have an announcement at that meeting and will send something out by e-mail thereafter.

Prayer is the most powerful response any of us can make at this point. Please pray.

Kurt+

The Very Rev. Kurt H. Dunkle

Dean and President | The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church

Update: This just went to students from faculty member Andrew Irving:

Dear students,

We wish to underline that we have not resigned. Our letters did not say that we would resign. We requested meetings with the Board. Indeed in our second letter we wrote to the Board “We assure you that your good faith willingness to meet with us will be received with our sincere good faith efforts to restore to our students the hours of instruction already lost to them by the Dean and President’s current policies” and we explained that a “good faith” response would “mean immediately undertaking to schedule a time to meet with us during the October board meeting.”

Many of you have asked for more detailed information for the reasons for our actions. We do understand that you may wish to have text to provide detail of some of the issues that we spoke about in St Peter’s church this afternoon. However, our legal counsel has advised us not to do this at this stage. This is because we want to continue to maintain the possibility of talking with the board as we requested, and do not want to endanger this process at this stage.

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The Rev. Wilfredo Benitez
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The Rev. Wilfredo Benitez

A plan of action is past due. The BoT needs to reinstate the "fired" faculty immediately as an act demonstrating that they are grounded in wisdom and a Spirit of reconciliation. Prolonging this will only add fuel to the fire, and further stain the already compromised reputation of General Theological Seminary. Reinstate!

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Fr Phillip Ayers
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Fr Phillip Ayers

I'm sorry to hear about GTS' difficulties. They are much in my prayer. I know only one faculty member at all well and have just written him. I also know a few board members. GTS is not my seminary, but I hold it in high esteem, as I could well have gone there, back in 1967. My own seminary went through a horrible debacle in 1969-1970 but emerged a strong place after an affiliation with Yale the year after I was graduated. Thank God for certain faculty members (who were priests) for shepherding me and loving me through all of that. I hope the same can afford the stalwart students who now struggle in their seminary (GTS) doing their level best to be faithful and true to their vocations.My prayers are with you!

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The Rev. Terence Blackburn
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The Rev. Terence Blackburn

I lost some sleep last night, about my posting. I wanted to find a way to take it down, but that didn't seem to be possible. I felt my comment as I said above was written in haste and was far too judgmental. What I want to offer are my prayers for all and that there can be a peaceful resolution of this problem.

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The Rev. Terence Blackburn
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The Rev. Terence Blackburn

In rereading my previous post, I feel perhaps it was a bit over zealous. I am very concerned when people don't seem to be talking to each other and I can't quite understand why the board won't meet with the faculty, who seem to have serious problems with the current dean. I wrote out of passion and perhaps a little too hastily, but I still wish very much for this difficult situation to have an amicable solution. My main point continues to be that dialogue between the dean the board, the students and the faculty is crucial. Things seem to of gone pretty far but I hope that is still possible

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Catherine S. Salmon
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Catherine S. Salmon

Roger Mortimer, far from re-asserters revelling in the mess at GTS, I see no evidence that they're paying much, if any, attention to it. Perhaps that's because it's been years since the more traditional/conservative bishops sent anyone there; most of them stopped when GTS changed their housing policy so that gay couples could live together on campus. (Was that in the early 1990's?)

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