Last week the Baptist Message, the Louisiana Baptist Convention paper, published an article in which Dr. Joe Aguillard, President of Louisiana College, “articulates” his position on Calvinism.
This post will examine the last paragraph of that article and serve as an appeal to the Board of Trustees to weigh the evidence and consider a reinstatement of the professors who received nonrenewal letters earlier this semester.
The Baptist Message article concludes with a quote from Dr. Aguillard. He says:
Finally, due to the number of students who have very recently expressed to me a ‘very oppressive discomfort’ that they have felt with regard to the advocating of Calvinistic tenets with which they [these students] do not agree, I realized that we had a problem.
Charges of this nature are easy to sort. Near the end of each semester at Louisiana College, students are asked to review the professors. The professor designates a student to administer the review and he leaves the room. The questionnaire is short and asks questions such as, “Did this professor teach in accordance with the BFM 2000” or “How could this professor best improve this course?” There is even a comment block for the student to write out any concerns or explanations to answers given. The forms are placed in a sealed envelope and walked across campus by a student. The academic affairs office then types out the answers and delivers them to the professor so there is no risk of a student being identified by handwriting. The survey is designed to remove any chance of identification of the student and to facilitate honest answers without fear of retribution for negative responses.
These are serious charges. I would encourage the Board of Trustees to request these reviews of the men released by Dr. Aguillard. If Calvinism is causing “very oppressive discomfort” then surely there will be a long line of complaints in these reviews given every semester. I have earned 24 credit hours under the teaching of Drs. Hiles, Lister, and McFadden and I know first hand how these classes are taught. The board of trustees will have no issues discrediting these charges after reviewing the evidence in these student reviews.
Lastly, I would like to caution the board to review the evidence carefully. Dr. Aguillard states that “very recently” there has been an expression of an “oppressive discomfort.” I would urge the board to weigh the evidence with a critical mind and call into question any “spike” in complaints. These professors have a proven track record of excellent reviews from their students and this should bear the greatest weight. After 6 to 10 semesters of stellar reviews this sudden charge of oppression seems questionable. May critical thinking, sound logic, and integrity prevail.
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