The campus in north Georgia has been adrift since its unflappable president, Donald Dowless (photo), began attempting to explain away a ban on gay employees and its new Personal Lifestyle Statement as an effort toward “fulfill biblical requirements.” The school’s No Homo measure was put in place last October, prompting two protests, a trio of petitions calling for the policy to change, worries from gay employees of a witch hunt, concern from gay students about their safety and an explosion of letters and comments on the Rome News-Tribune website.
The fallout is regaining steam as faculty resignations pile up over the statement. The Rome paper even questioned if the school is facing a mass exodus.
Later this month, Save Our Shorter is organizing a protest that coincides with a visit by a college accreditation team. A protest in November during the formal inauguration for Dowless drew more than 100 people.
Save Our Shorter will conduct a peaceful protest on Wednesday, April 18, 2012, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., in conjunction with the campus visit of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ (SACS) accreditation team. The objective of the protest is to call the attention of the SACS team to three issues:
1. The current administration’s inappropriate censorship of the repertoire of the School of Fine and Performing Arts;
2. The administration’s imposition of limits on the academic freedom of the faculty; and
3. The inappropriate influence of the Georgia Baptist Convention on the Shorter University Board of Trustees.
All interested parties should gather at 8 a.m. at the main entrance. For directions, please see https://www.shorter.edu/about/directions.htm We thank you for your willingness to stand up for positive Christian values. In keeping with our group’s commitment to nonviolent social change, we ask that all who participate follow all ordinances related to public assemblies.
Dowless, for his part, remains on message. “Change is hard,” he tells the News-Tribune.