Shoulder to the wheel

So now I have rotator cuff problems on both sides – although it’s a lot worse on one side. Right now, I have it taped, which makes the pain more tolerable and stops that clicking noise. Fortunately, I have an appointment with the physiatrist next week and I can get some prolotherapy shots, which will help. Arghh.

Faculty members leaving Shorter University due to “Personal Lifestyle Statement”

Nestled in the Northwest Georgia Mountains in the city of Rome is Shorter University. Shorter University is a small Baptist Institution with a big problem.

Close to 60 of its faculty will not renew their contracts for new school year. The school has about 100 full time faculty members.

This is due to the requirement to sign a “Personal Lifestyle Statement.”

Here is part of the statement:

 I agree to adhere to and support the following principles (on or off the campus):

1. I will be loyal to the mission of Shorter University as a Christ-centered institution affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention.

2. I will not engage in the use, sale, possession, or production of illegal drugs.

3. I reject as acceptable all sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible, including, but not limited to, premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality.

4. I will not use alcoholic beverages in the presence of students, and I will abstain from serving, from using, and from advocating the use of alcoholic beverages in public (e.g. in locations that are open to use by the general public, including as some examples restaurants, concert venues, stadiums, and sports facilities) and in settings in which students are present or are likely to be present. I will not attend any University sponsored event in which I have consumed alcohol within the last six hours. Neither will I promote or encourage the use of alcohol.

The University is practically decimated. Four out of seven deans will not be returning. The School of Professional Programs (remote learning for non traditional students) is the largest tuition draw, has lost a sizable portion of its students and 20% of its faculty. The College of Nursing has lost all but 2 inexperienced faculty members. The faculty that left is developing a new nursing program at nearby Berry College. Music and Theater has historically been a big draw to the undergraduate program at Shorter and they will lose 12 out of 20 faculty members. A tenured librarian of 14 years has also turned in his resignation.

Inside Higher Ed has an article giving some background:

In 2002, Shorter’s board of trustees voted to break away from the Georgia Baptist Convention after a dispute about who would appoint the college’s board. In the past, the state convention had chosen from a list of candidates approved by the college; beginning in 2001, it began to put its own board members forward.

The state convention fought the move, and the case went to the state Supreme Court, which ruled in 2005 which ruled the college did not have authority to sever ties with the church on its own……

Another Georgia Baptist college, Mercer University, provides a view of an alternate path, had Shorter won at the state supreme court.

When Shorter sought independence from the Baptist convention, it used Mercer as a model: at the time, the college’s charter limited the convention’s control over the board of trustees. In 2006, not long after Shorter lost its court case, the convention cut ties with Mercer entirely, the result of a dispute about both institutional control and the rights of gay student groups.

Unlike Shorter, that separation stuck. Thus, five years later, a few days after Shorter announced its new faith statements, Mercer announced an employment policy change of its own: the Baptist university is now extending health insurance and other benefits to employees’ same-sex partners.

I suppose the Georgia Baptist Convention can take the school in any direction they see fit. It is a private institution. But tearing down this university’s academic integrity will be no door to heaven.

Legal theft

This isn’t the only kind of game they play with bail money, but it’s one of the worst ones:

When the Brown County, Wis., Drug Task Force arrested her son Joel last February, Beverly Greer started piecing together his bail.

She used part of her disability payment and her tax return. Joel Greer’s wife also chipped in, as did his brother and two sisters. On Feb. 29, a judge set Greer’s bail at $7,500, and his mother called the Brown County jail to see where and how she could get him out. “The police specifically told us to bring cash,” Greer says. “Not a cashier’s check or a credit card. They said cash.”

So Greer and her family visited a series of ATMs, and on March 1, she brought the money to the jail, thinking she’d be taking Joel Greer home. But she left without her money, or her son.

Instead jail officials called in the same Drug Task Force that arrested Greer. A drug-sniffing dog inspected the Greers’ cash, and about a half-hour later, Beverly Greer said, a police officer told her the dog had alerted to the presence of narcotics on the bills — and that the police department would be confiscating the bail money.

“I told them the money had just come from the bank,” Beverly Greer says. “We had just taken it out. If the money had drugs on it, then they should go seize all the money at the bank, too. I just don’t understand how they could do that.”

The Greers had been subjected to civil asset forfeiture, a policy that lets police confiscate money and property even if they can only loosely connect them to drug activity. The cash, or revenue from the property seized, often goes back to the coffers of the police department that confiscated it. It’s a policy critics say is often abused, but experts told The HuffPost that the way the law is applied to bail money in Brown County is exceptionally unfair.
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