I have had the privilege of speaking at scores of American colleges and universities over the last decade. I have no recollection of meeting a finer bunch of people than the ones I met at Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee. Their students, their alumni, and their professors are the best people you'll ever want to meet. That is why it is so difficult to see Bryan turning into a dictatorship that is teetering on the edge of destruction. Accordingly, I write today offering some advice on how I think Bryan can turn things around.
The normal procedure for ending a presidential dictatorship at a college is through the Board of Trustees. For example, I was involved in a successful coup against one such dictatorship just this last spring at UNC-Wilmington. We were able to oust Gary Miller because members of the Board of Trustees were willing to listen to complaints about him and to recognize that there were recurrent themes in the complaints that warranted further investigation. The further investigation took the form of comprehensive interviews of people who had worked with Miller within various levels of the university.
As you might expect, the results of the investigation were not favorable. Thus, it was communicated to Miller that he had no long-term future at the university. He, in turn, applied for several jobs and eventually landed three interviews and one offer. He took the offer (and a $50,000 pay cut) and left. Mission accomplished.
But the current Bryan College president is no Dr. Miller. Dr. Livesay is on a mission from God and everyone who is attacking him is seen (by him) as an agent of Satan himself. Furthermore, he has shown a willingness to usher out dissenting board members in order to preserve his dictatorship. He has also shown a willingness to mislead the world - and World Magazine - in order to conceal his tactics.
This is a desperate situation. Dr. Livesay is willing to use the twin tactics of a) restraining truthful speech on campus (including the press) and b) making misleading statements to the off-campus press. Therefore, tough tactics must be used in response. I recommend two courses of action:
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