Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My Letter to the Regents

In lieu of the recent scandalous lawsuit, the Board of Regents have invited ORU alumni to share their thoughts on the school. I have chosen to take them up on their offer. The following is a letter I wrote to the Board. If I receive a reply, I will post that as well.

To: Mr. George Pearsons
Chairman of the Board of Regents

Dear Mr. Pearsons and other Regents,

You have invited ORU alumni to offer their opinions on the current situation at the University, particularly with Mr. and Mrs. Roberts. I welcome this opportunity, and pray that you actually take the time to read and consider my thoughts. You have to understand, it is difficult for any alumni to believe that the university cares what they may have to say, since it only expressed disregard for us the entire time we were there.

Please don’t dismiss what I have to say, simply because I may sound like one more bitter student, who didn’t have enough fun while he was there. This is not the case. I am writing today because I care so much about the University and it’s well being. I think you will find that most graduates have nothing but hope for the school, but have no respect for the Roberts family.

None of my fellow students are surprised by any of these recent developments.

I was privileged to attend ORU for six years, and it was a tremendous time in my life. So many of the teachers there had an incredible impact on my life, so many of my fellow students became lifelong friends. It was a very, very worthwhile experience.

I didn’t mind the rules so much. I knew what I was getting into. The regulations of the university aren’t a secret. I had attended Christian schools my entire life; rules and Christ-centered education were not new ideas to me.

However, this is not to say that I wasn’t surprised by what I encountered at the university. The entire six years that I attended the University, I was constantly presented with the idea that the University had no respect for me. That it did not care about me, my opinions, or anything I had to say.

The school would occasionally ask for input, but unfortunately, this seemed more of a tool to pacify the students than to actually create change. I pray that is not the motivation behind your request for our opinions now. There has never been an open dialogue with the school on any topic. Ever. Not in my experience. My six years was filled with frustrating episodes involving the administration buffering the gap between them and the students, with well-meaning “mid-levelers” who didn’t have any actual answers to anything. They could simply listen to any frustration the student might have, and then explain that they “understood why we felt that way.” Over and over again, this was the only response I was ever able to get. After a while, any student realizes that there will never be any actual change,

Did you know that there are entire internet communities dedicated to the frustrations of graduates? I’ve been a member for years. We all found each other, and we lament what the school could be, but what we fear it will never be, because true change is not allowed. Because the types of changes we were looking for, required for the administration to actually respect the students, and we fear that will never happen, not as long as the administration is headed by the Roberts family and their cohorts. We believe the Roberts do not respect us, not because they have met us, evaluated us, or have any just means to do so. They have just decided that they know better than we ever would. We do not respect the Roberts because we have heard the things that come out of their mouths, the silly things, the unbiblical things, the frivolous things, and the downright stupid things. We have seen the way they treat us. This is the basis for our conclusions.

The following are some items that have lessened our respect for the Roberts family, that we experienced while I was a student there, or we all heard, but the University would refuse to address. It was presented over and over again, that God’s Anointed needn’t explain himself. Sometimes he would simply say that God told him, so that we couldn’t question. But if they would have simply talked about some of these things, the University would have been a much healthier place.

1. No one believes Dr. Hultgren’s doctorate is real. We think it is a honorary doctorate that the university gave him, and that he was simply brought in as a prophet to tell us that Richard heard from God. Yet, everyone refers to him as “Doctor Hultgren.” This isn’t the type of thing that raises the credibility of an ACADEMIC institution.
2. Richard got his doctorate from his own university. There are too many rumors that they had to fudge his credits with work at the TV show just for him to get his Bachelor degree. Then he got his doctorate from his own school? Who was grading his papers. Also, no one thinks he wrote his own papers. Would you give RR a bad grade?
3. His doctoral status is exacerbated by his apparent complete lack of actual theological training.

Please allow me to pause to share one of my frustrating experiences related to this:

One day in chapel, Richard and Lindsay were preaching, coming down hard on sin, the way they love to do. Preaching against the world and what not. Then Richard opened his Bible and read from Leviticus, explaining that it meant that tattoos were forbidden by the Bible. He followed it up by explaining that it was directly applicable to our lives today, and if we got tattoos, we were in direct violation of Holy Scripture.

So I went back to my dorm, and read the same passage he quoted. To my surprise, the Very Next Verse commands not to shave the beard or cut the hair.

As I am sure you know, male students are not allowed to have long hair, or grow beards. It was quite the quandary for me, as you can imagine. My choices were to believe the President of my University, the one with his doctorate, that this verse in Leviticus is still directly applicable to my life today, or not. If I chose to believe him, then I was in violation of the Holy Scripture by simply obeying the rules of his university.

We don’t respect the Roberts because they don’t hesitate to say Scripture means something, or God told them something, regardless of how true it is.

I was a student when Lindsay Roberts had her revelation about the word “Yahoo” being Hebrew for “God is able.” Then the little girl died. It’s a sad, sad story, but also significant of the Roberts family, their grasp of Scripture, and how well they hear from the Lord.

4. I was there when Richard Roberts declared that God told him to build a student center. I was there when he told us that it would be done in four or five years. This isn’t simply a bad idea, it’s something he declares that God told him...... GOD. Visit campus, there is a desolate, fenced in memorial that Richard does not hear from God, and that he is a liar. Because there is still nothing there. I think we know how false prophets were treated in the Bible.

5. I was there when Richard explained that God told him to institute a curfew for men. Of course this was after it was too late to withdraw from school and go find one that treated us like adults. Why did God wait so long into the semester to tell Richard this? The strong rumor is that the real reason the men needed a curfew was to avoid the NCAA title 9 violation fines. But as always, there was a never a dialogue about it. We were simply told what God had decided about the matter, and then told to take it up with HIM!

6. I was there when Pastor Schuler was pushed out. Anyone who knows that man, knows the Holy Spirit it on him. I new that was the beginning of the end.

7. The blatant and extreme nepotism demonstrated towards their daughters. Find anyone who was an RA for one of their girls. Or, simply go look at one of the “dorm rooms” outfitted for a member of the Roberts family. I can assure you, my dorm room didn’t look anything like it. But the Roberts family is so disconnected from reality that it does not even occur to them as inappropriate. Of course their daughter gets a really nice private apartment room in her dorm. She’s a Roberts.

The Government departments and the Theology departments have been making progress in a way that made me proud to have ORU on my resume. The Philosophy program was growing, sending undergrads to get their masters. The Gov. dept. was gaining a reputation for turning out some of the most well trained students in the country. And now both departments have been sliced and diced, crippled beyond repair. And once again, I find myself ashamed of my school, and for one last time, feeling very aware that they do not respect the students in any way.

Finally, why is the only university in the world that preaches “seed faith,” nearly 75 MILLION dollars in debt??

It breaks my heart.

Sincerely,

The Glass Hammer

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2 Comments:

Blogger lisa said...

I loved your letter. I am a graduate of ORU (Class of 2000) (Theology Major). I loved the school, the professors and my fellow students. God bless you for the eloquent way that you expressed what so many of us feel.

9:45 AM  
Blogger Mac said...

Thank you Lisa. I know, the way the current administration has dismembered some of our programs is so disheartening.

I studied Government and Philosophy while I was there. Obviously the government department has been crippled beyond repair. And they have eliminated the Philosophy portion of the Theology department....it's sad.

7:52 PM  

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