The events at Louisiana College during the past six months have generated more letters to the editor than any other issue in the 26 years this editor has been with the Baptist Message.
The events at Louisiana College during the last six
months have generated more letters
to the editor than any other issue in the 26 years
this editor has been with the Baptist Message. And the letters have
been stronger in wording and sometimes harsher in tone than letters on
any other issue. This certainly demonstrates that Louisiana College is
dear to the hearts of Louisiana Baptists and that they care deeply
about what happens with the college and at the college.
The most recent issue that has sparked widespread
response is the called meeting of the Louisiana College board of
trustees on January 17. (This editorial is written on January 14, and
the publication date is January 20 – thus, the awkwardness of the
tenses of the verbs.) The board will meet to consider their
newly-constituted search committee’s recommendation to elect Joe
Aguillard as president of the Louisiana Baptist school. Actually, the
committee was instructed to make consideration of
Aguillard its first action after being reconstituted.
The Baptist Message received strong letters in
support of electing Aguillard, strong letters urging that he not be
elected, letters asking that the board delay electing a president for a
year and letters questioning the legality of the new search committee.
In addition, people have asked to buy advertising in order to give
their unedited opinions.
The letters about the election arrived in a time
that would put them in this edition of the paper, which goes to press
on January 17 – this Monday. This means the letters would be in the
newspaper after the called meeting concludes, and we did not feel it
appropriate to print them after the matter was decided. We also do not
sell advertisements to express opinions on matters of governance for
the Louisiana Baptist Convention or its agencies.
Unfortunately, the action of the board concerning
the presidential recommendation of the new search committee also will
come at a time that prohibits the Baptist Message from having the
results of that vote in this issue. Our press time is noon on January
17, and the board meeting begins at 6:00 p.m.
The Baptist Message will post a complete report of the meeting on our
Web site at www.baptistmessage.com as soon as possible, at least by the
time one receives this paper. And then, the following week, that
report, plus any updates, will be published in the paper.
Whatever the Louisiana College board decides, the
time has long since passed for the trustees to pull together and
give the wonderful school a fresh beginning. There is absolutely no
question – Louisiana Baptists love their college and want the very best
for it. The new president of the school and the school itself will need
all the support Louisiana Baptists can give.
The last year of turmoil at the school has hurt the school’s reputation
as a superior small college with excellent credentials.
While its accreditation is still
intact, and almost certainly will remain so, the probation placed on
the school by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has cast
a pall upon the school as far as much of the public is concerned.
How lasting the damage to the school’s public perception will be
depends upon the trustees, the new president, the faculty, the staff,
the students and the willingness of Louisiana Baptists to carry on
their love and financial support for the school and send their young
people there as students.
Whatever action the trustees take the Monday before
one receives this paper, Louisiana College desperately needs your
prayers. It is still an excellent college with a superior faculty and
staff and wonderful, innocent-in-this-matter students deserving of our
prayers and support. If Louisiana College had not been, and if it were
not, such a dynamic educational institution and so dear to the hearts
of so many, the passions expressed about the actions at the school
would not be so strong.