Dr. P. Kyle McCarter, the William Foxwell Albright Professor of Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at The Johns Hopkins University, has written a lengthy letter in support of Dr. Chris Rollston regarding the present scandalous efforts at Emmanuel Christian Seminary to terminate Dr. Rollston from his tenured, endowed chair.
The letter can be read on Dr. McCarter’s site here.
I’ve included the conclusion of the letter below, calling academics into action, as this affects us all:
I’ve written this public letter because I’ve watched the treatment of Chris Rollston by Emmanuel Christian Seminary closely, and what I’ve seen so far has me deeply troubled both professionally and personally, as I’ve explained. My sense is that events are now beginning to move rapidly, so that declarations of concern at this point will be very timely. I’ve expressed the hope that we will be vigilant and attentive to the process, and I believe that it might help if we directly notify the institution of our general concern and our intention to play a watchdog role. We can do this by contacting the chief academic officers of the Seminary. The President is Michael Sweeney (email@example.com) and the Academic Dean is Jack Holland (firstname.lastname@example.org). Even brief messages to President Sweeney and Dean Holland will demonstrate the sincerity of our interest. Those of you (and there are many) who have knowledge of specific issues and events (things I’ve deliberately omitted from this letter for reasons already explained) may wish to address those things at some length, but (to repeat) short messages will help too. Many of you will have already written, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t write again. You might also consider writing to Emmanuel’s accrediting boards, mentioned above. The representative at SACS is Steven Sheeley (email@example.com), and the representative at ATS is Tisa Lewis (firstname.lastname@example.org). Some of you, moreover, may have special knowledge that could be particularly useful. If, for example, you have worked in any capacity with either of Emmanuel’s accrediting boards (SACS or ATS, see above), you may know a more direct way to call their attention to this issue — I feel confident they will want to investigate, but I don’t know if they are yet involved. If by chance any of you knows one or more trustees of Emmanuel Christian Seminary, you might be able to play a particularly valuable role. As I said above, considering the inevitably positivistic character of Chris’s epigraphic work, it’s surprising to me that he hasn’t found support within even the conservative spectrum of Emmanuel’s constituencies, and I wonder if all the trustees have been told the whole story.
In sum, all of us who hold academic positions, whether in secular or religious or confessional institutions, have a stake in what’s happening in Johnson City, Tennessee. Many of you don’t know Chris personally, but even some of you who don’t know him personally have already taken bold positions on his behalf, and you have and deserve the special respect of us all. For those of us who do know Chris, who know the quality and integrity of his work, and who know the quality and integrity of the man, we can’t help but ask ourselves: Is this a man whose job performance is such that he should be threatened with dismissal for cause? This man? Chris Rollston? The notion is so absurd that it stops all thought processes, leaving only confusion. How did things get to this point?
P. Kyle McCarter
William Foxwell Albright Professor of Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies
The Johns Hopkins University
Please take the time to read Dr. McCarter’s excellent letter.
Also, please write a letter of your own in support of Chris. If you send them to me (email@example.com), I shall post them here on my blog and add your name and letter to this fast-growing list of supporters who have written publicly in support of Dr. Rollston.
Filed under: scholarship Tagged: | chris rollston, Emmanuel Christian Seminary, Johnson City, Michael Sweeney, P. Kyle McCarter, scandal, Tennessee, tenure, The Johns Hopkins University, wrongful termination