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Bryan College could lose faculty over creationism dispute

April 5th, 2014 5:18 pm by Associated Press

Bryan College could lose faculty over creationism dispute

DAYTON, Tenn. — The Dayton college named after one of creationism's most famous defenders is embroiled in a controversy over Adam and Eve.

William Jennings Bryan helped prosecute the Scopes Monkey Trial. Now Bryan College could lose up to a quarter of its full-time faculty over a dispute that began in February when the trustees clarified the school's statement of belief.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports ( ) the statement already expressed a view that man was created by God. The clarification states that Adam and Eve were historical people who were not created from previously existing life forms.

Since that move, the school's 44 professors have voted 30-2 no confidence in the school's president, with six abstaining; students and alumni have penned petitions over the controversy; and one trustee has resigned.

With the deadline now past for returning next year's contracts — which include the clarification — seven professors are leaving and the status of another seven is up in the air. Of the seven who are leaving, two are retiring, and one of them is retiring early.

Two other professors have written an addendum to their contracts affirming the original statement of belief, but rejecting the clarification.

Education professor Steve DeGeorge and natural sciences professor Stephen Barnett said their objections weren't about the substance of the clarification, but the process employed. DeGeorge added that Bryan's charter says its statement of belief cannot be altered.

"The charter says no changes and that's what it means," DeGeorge said.

President Stephen Livesay has insisted the difference is not a change but a clarification.

DeGeorge and Barnett said recently they had not gotten a response to their altered contracts from the administration.

Salvatore Musumeci, associate professor of European history and Italian cultural studies, is one of five faculty members who have been granted an extension on the contract deadline.

"I'm waiting for our board of trustees to see how they're going to handle the situation and more specifically the vote of no confidence, the student outrage, the signing of the petition," Musumeci said. "How could you still back a leader with a 30-to-2 vote of no confidence?"

Trustees plan to visit the campus next week.


Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press,

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