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Louisiana College: Let's Stop Pretending. I've written before about my opinion of Louisiana College's new administration and the direction the school's Board of Trustees has decided to take. Although I did not attend Louisiana College, several of my friends and relatives have. Just last week, one of my best friends earned a degree in history from LC. The latest news out of LC is that its administration opted not to renew the contracts of Lori Thames, Dean of Student Affairs, and Maradee Kern, Professor of English. To the general public, this may just seem like a routine personnel decision, but to many current and former students, this is yet another sign that their school is being taken away from them. Until today, I hadn't heard of Ms. Thames, but I know that her job at LC was an important one, essentially a liason between the student body and the administration. It makes sense to me that the new administration would want to install their own person (crony) in this position. Although I have never met Professor Kern, I have heard a lot about her. Ms. Kern has a great reputation with her students, and I know many of them who will be very saddened to learn of LC's decision. (One of my friends had signed up for a class with Ms. Kern next semester). Ms. Kern also seems to be a bit of a blogger herself, and as evident from her last entry, she was not anticipating that she'd be terminated. But why, you ask, does all of this really matter? It matters to me for a few reasons. Louisiana College calls itself Louisiana College. It's not Louisiana Baptist College. We all know it's affiliated with the Southern Baptist Church, but many other fine schools have religious affiliations. Religion should not impede on the ability of a school to create an environment that promotes the OPEN exchange of ideas. I believe LC should lose its accreditation immediately. I believe that the present administration has sufficiently demonstrated its unwillingness to compromise on issues of personal belief and academic freedom. They have pillaged the school of many of its best professors. They have trampled on the individual rights of students and professors. They have made a mockery of higher education by instructing professors of all fields to adhere to a manifesto drafted by the Southern Baptist Convention. And they have added insult to injury by demanding that all professors agree to relinquish their God-given right to enjoy a glass of wine in a nice restaurant (or anywhere else deemed with the ambiguous label of "public"). I must remind readers that LC accomplished all of this because the Board of Trustees wanted to install their own man as Dean, no matter who or what stood in their way. They took this school over from the outside, and then, they somehow convinced people in their moral and religious superiority. It didn't matter that they broke precedent. It didn't matter who the Search Committee had selected. They claimed to know the righteous path for LC's future, and because of their direct relationship with the Almighty, they could skip around whatever they wanted in order to get their man in control. They were sued for this, but it didn't matter. Ultimately, colleges are self-governed, and if the Board wants to turn LC into a Bible School, they can do just that. I know many of you are probably thinking that LC is not really becoming a Bible School. Well, yes it is. Bible School is one of those umbrella terms. It doesn't mean that soon LC will only be teaching the Bible. In this case, it means that LC is attempting to inject the Southern Baptist belief system into every academic discource. If LC truly wants to become a Bible School, then it should go ahead and join the leagues of the other prestigious fundamentalist schools, Bob Jones University and Liberty University. Like LC, Bob Jones and Liberty also offer courses in the hard sciences and the humanities, though every lesson is set against the backdrop of their own unique Christian dogma. I know LC was on academic probation not long ago. Remember? (Oh, and you can't forget that they BANNED Scott Peck's The Road Less Traveled and Ernest Gaines' A Lesson Before Dying. Banned because they were intimidated by the lowest common denominator). I'm not sure much has changed since they were taken off of academic probation, and although I know it will pain many students and professors to see their beloved school stripped entirely of its accreditation, I believe it's the only way to force a real decision from the new administration. Rather than let them slowly erode your school, choking departments of resources, terminating good professors, and censoring lesson plans and textbooks, give them an ultimatum, make them decide.