Tuesday, February 10, 2015

One problem Brewton-Parker trustees have the power to fix

Brewton-Parker, a small, struggling Georgia Baptist college, has a number of problems that its trustees cannot fix.

They are powerless to erase their past which includes some serious impropriety. Absent a windfall of serious new funding, they cannot do much about a campus that has been described as having a generation's worth of deferred maintenance. They cannot push a button and get a redo for the present turmoil that has had far too many components that make for good soap operas but bad educational administration and an extremely poor expression of Christians working for the greater glory of God. They cannot instantly erase the damage done to young people who have enrolled in the school and who should have the opportunity to see how belivers and followers of Christ live, behave, and react.

Trustees do have the power, instantly and absolutely, to rectify a poor personnel decision that helped no one and hurt many. Trustees could take the gracious route with former vice president C. B. Scott and either restore him to his position at the school or at the minimum grant him the same severance and benefits given the former president.

One of the few decisions made by former trustee chairman Gary Campbell, an accomplished and successful businessman, was to personally fire Scott for what Campbell called an "infraction of a very important business policy" involving "grievance information" and the "chain of command."

Campbell, I understand, is CEO of a major business and rightly believes that procedures and policies are critical to successful management; however, if the outcome of proper policies and procedures is unjust then perhaps trustees would take steps necessary for a just and proper result without condemning the former chairman/CEO for doing what he thought best.

Here is where Georgia Baptist are at the present: (1) The former president resigned over a mix of personal, perhaps debilitating, tragedy, credible reports of racist remarks, and loss of the respect and confidence of many students and school employees. (2) The VP, whose contributions to the school have been universally praised, is fired because he refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement that would have made him legally and personally liable for disclosure of information about the school, much of which has been discloised already.

A few questions:

1. Does BPC have a written whistleblower policy? Have all departing employees been forced to sign NDAs? Or, is this specifically tailored to VP Scott?

2. Exactly how is BPC helped by this non-disclosure agreement? Campbell's company may well employ these documents to legitimately protect proprietary information and business practices. It is unclear how this serves BPC although it is clear how it may assuage those heavily invested in the former president and against Scott.

3. The former president, according to influential pastor and trustee Bucky Kennedy, should be allowed time and space to heal from the devastating loss of his teenage son. I join him in that and as a fellow Georgia Baptist pastor and Cooperative Program supporter, I have no problem in being generous to Ergun Caner with severance pay and benefits. I would find it troubling if Kennedy and other trustees would not consider being generous to C. B. Scott, against whom there are no sordid allegations save for not acceding to the will of the former trustee chairman over the NDA.

At the moment we are left with this: An institution in turmoil and disarray. A depressed and disgraced former president who will, presumably and for some length of time, receive regular direct deposits and have insurance paid by BPC for whatever counseling and health needs his family has. A fired former VP who is praised by all but who is without pay and insurance and whose wife has an expensive, incurable disease.

Someone explain how this is right, how this is just.

Trustees can fix this. Financially, the school can afford to do it. In regard to institutional credibility, Trustees cannot afford not to do it.


Anonymous said...

Being from the opposite side of the country, I had never heard of Brewton-Parker college until they hired Ergun Caner as their president a year or two ago. I knew at the time there was little institutional integrity at a school that would hire such an unscrupulous character as Caner. Mind you,that the decision to hire Caner was after his much publicized lying scandal at Liberty University and his failed lawsuits against several SBC pastors.

Knowing a little more about the college, it's evident the problems go back far further than Caner. I just can't fathom how anyone in the Georgia SBC can tolerate the continued immorality at Brewton-Parker. With Caner gone, the college has an opportunity to right itself but seemingly is not taking the right steps.

Ragin Cajun said...


I agree with you! I think everyone involved should be taken care of...remember, we are suppose to be Christians!

Anonymous said...


Just curious on your thoughts on the scandals Ergun Caner was involved in before becoming President of Brewton-Parker.

Many have said the trustees acted irresponsibly in hiring him. He has never to this day publically repented after his lying about being a jihadist, speaking Arabic, his father having multiple wives, ect. He was let go at Liberty due to those actions.

He also was involved in a frivolous failed lawsuit against a fellow pastor, which is another unscriptural action.

What are your thoughts on the hiring of Ergun Caner in the first place? Doesn't this action show corruption among the trustees at Brewton-Parker?


William Thornton said...

Kyle, I'm not much interested in discussing the long history here. There are, God knows, plenty of other places for that.

No, the trustees were not corrupt in their hiring of EC. It was a high risk, high reward move but these are good and decent people who genuinely want to see the college prosper. Once made, I wished them success in it as I wish them success in facing present and future challenges.