Students, Faculty and Administration of Bryan College,
I am a member of the Class of 2013 and I have many fond memories of my time at Bryan. The faculty of Bryan played a huge role in the process of becoming the man I am today, and in igniting a passion in me for history and education. I am deeply saddened and frankly, fearful for the school in light of the events of the last few months. I hate to see the school that has given me so much torn apart before my eyes. But I am sad to say that I’m not surprised.
Events over the past few years have foreshadowed this. Various decisions by the administration have often blind-sided the faculty, the student body, and the alumni, much to the determent of all who make up the school, and even more so the cause of Christ. Appearances above all seems to be the rule of day favoring facilities, programs, and prospective students over the spiritual health and growth of the current student body and the faculty. It is not an atmosphere of open Christian fellowship, but of fear, lies, secrecy and shame. The administration claims to want to train us to think independently and become responsible adult. Yet at the same time treats us like children, acting like parents who wont admit mistakes for fear of losing authority. This administration’s presumption of infallibility leaders to an environment where any who question are vilified as being “unchristian”, or “divisive.” This squashing of constructive dissent leads to a feeling of apathy and uselessness. The events of the last few months are truly the straw that broke the camels back from an administration that has systemically disrespected, misled, and lied to not only its student body, but to the faculty, who are the life blood of the school as well. I am abhorred the by misrepresentation of the situation by the administration to the media and the wider world, as well as the treatment of faculty concerns, up to and including the vote of no confidence.
I am no theologian so I will not touch too much on the substance of the “clarification.” I simply believe that our all-powerful God, who is outside of time, created the heavens and the earth.
I am fearful for the future of the school and my friends that are still attending. Many are face uncertainty, looking at upended schedules, the loss of advisors, often going into some of the most challenging years of their education. I feel most for the education majors. Many people I know are facing their student teaching and their thesis without Dr. DeGeorge, There are many across the different departments who would relay a similar story.
This is the way I see it. There is so much brokenness at this school, It has predated the past few months yet has flown under the radar. I want to see a united campus, across lines, a unity among the students, that transcends every possible division. Students opening up to their professor, their RAs and the admin about what is going on in their lives without fear. I don’t think that will happen until there is a massive change not only in administration but also in school culture. Appearance is to an extent important but not at the cost of everything else. Above all we need to pray that God uses this to his ends and trust that he has a plan. That however is not an excuse sit back and not take a stand.
To the Classes of 2014, 2015, and beyond, as well as the faculty, I am with you, and you are all in my prayers. God can heal this riff, but we must not be silent.
Christopher E Bernard
Class of 2013