GTS Board: Dean to stay; faculty “resignations” still in effect; replacements okay

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UPDATE #2:

Statement from the Eight Faculty:

The following statement was issued tonight by the eight faculty whose job action resulted in their dismissal.

The eight fired faculty members of the General Theological Seminary sincerely thank the thousands of academics, hundreds of clergy and colleagues, GTS alumni, and other Christian faithful from around the world who have expressed their support for us in the aftermath of the Board of Trustees’ disappointing decision today. Your prayers, your passionate commitment to our cause, and outpouring of love continue to lift us up and sustain us.

For now, we need to spend some time individually and collectively in prayerful reflection on the Board’s decision so that we can determine the best way forward.

Official statement from the Board:

On October 17, 2014, The General Theological Seminary issues this statement:

“Shaping the future leaders of our Church is a responsibility we take very seriously; to that end, the concerns raised by eight members of the Faculty were given full consideration by both the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee. Our chief goal is a fruitful and fulfilling school year for our students.

“We are above all an institution of the Church, and we – both as individuals and as officials of the Seminary – strive to conduct ourselves in a manner befitting our guiding Christian principles. In this spirit, the Board has reviewed the findings of an independent investigation and reached three resolutions.

“First, the Board has heard the findings of an independent report and the advice of the Board’s Chancellor, and has concluded after extensive discussion that there are not sufficient grounds for terminating the Very Reverend Kurt Dunkle as President and Dean. We reaffirm our call to him as President and Dean and offer him our continuing support.

“Second, all eight Faculty members are invited to request provisional reinstatement as professors of the seminary. Our goal in the immediate term will be to promote an atmosphere of reconciliation so that the Seminary can turn the page and move forward with a full focus on the student body.

“The Executive Committee stands ready to meet next week to hear requests of any of the eight former faculty members for reinstatement and to negotiate the terms of their provisional employment for the remainder of the academic year.”

“Lastly, the Board commits itself to repairing the significant damage this issue has inflicted upon our Seminary, and calls upon all members of the GTS community – the Board, the Dean, students, Faculty, staff, and alumni – to foster greater accountability, repentance, reconciliation, and healing.

“For nearly 200 years, the General Theological Seminary has shaped current and future leaders of our Church. In an ever more challenging and volatile world, our Christian faith is an invaluable beacon that we all must strive to protect. We thank our Executive Committee, our Church leadership, our Faculty, and most of all our students for their continued faith during this challenging time. We commit ourselves to meditate upon these scriptures: Matthew 18:15-20, 2 Corinthians 5:16-20, and Ephesians 2:13-14.

Breaking. The Board of Trustees of the General Theological Seminary are meeting with students and the seminary community.

They have announced that they find no ground to dismiss Dean Kurt Dunkle and have restored faith in his leadership.

They will not reinstate the eight faculty.

They say they are committed to working towards reconciliation.

The replacement faculty are good enough for the formation of the current students.

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Leonardo Ricardo
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Dump the Dean (and all those who prefer to posture and please)! Guilty as charged.

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William Gilders
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William Gilders

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! ~ Isaiah 5:20

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tgflux
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tgflux

This sounds like a textbook case of "when institutions become dysfunctional".

EVERYBODY can see that this is NO solution, except the GTS Board which voted for it. *smh*

Lord, REFORM Your Church!

JC Fisher

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Keith Owen
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Keith Owen

So intensifies the march of folly

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Barry M. Signorelli
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Barry M. Signorelli

This decision is an absolute travesty. The process for responding to good-faith allegations of harassment or hostile work environment complaints is clearly laid out in the GTS Handbook; that process was completely ignored. How then, can the Board say that the allegations of the GTS8 were given a full and fair hearing? And where are their letters of resignation — not a willful misreading of the faculty's letter describing how seriously dysfunctional that environment had become - but the individual letters from each faculty member clearly stating, "I resign"? And why would one form a faculty union if one's intention was to resign? Without satisfactory answers to these questions (and I have so far heard none), the Board's action is nothing more than termination of the complainants: in other words, retaliation against whistleblowers, which is prohibited by every standard, ecclesiastical or civil, that I can think of - and which is a clear violation of Christian ethics and morality, from the Board of TEC's flagship institution for training clergy and laity, no less!

Today I am utterly ashamed of the institution that shaped and formed me for ministry. I am astounded to see such a sinful display of ham-handed power come from the guiding board of the seminary I dearly love and cherish. But so long as this injustice, this debacle, this abomination is allowed to stand, the Close cannot be holy ground to me. Unless and until the GTS8 are reinstated, or I am shown convincing evidence as to why they should be terminated, I will not step foot within The General Theological Seminary again. My heart is broken and my soul bleeds; but I will not be complicit in such an unholy and disgraceful act. May God have mercy on the GTS Board for what they have done today.

The Rev. Barry M. Signorelli, GTS '87

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