DAYTON, Tenn. — Student dissent is heating up in a controversy over beliefs about Adam and Eve at the Tennessee college named for one of creationism's most famous defenders.
The dispute at Bryan College, named for William Jennings Bryan, began in February when trustees clarified the school's statement of belief to state that Adam and Eve were historical people who were not created from previously existing life forms.
Since then, the conflict has escalated with a majority of professors voting "no confidence" in the school's president, and students and alumni penning petitions in response to the controversy.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported that in a day of action last week, students wrote notes to the Board of Trustees, signed petitions, wore black armbands and expressed their opinions on social media, among other actions.
The protest was prompted by the loss of at least nine of the college's 44 full-time professors, two of whom were fired after rejecting the college's clarified statement of belief, and statements by Bryan College President Stephen Livesay, who has downplayed the controversy.
After a school fundraiser last month, Livesay told the Times Free Press that students are happy and "the reality is we are solid."
Some students last week said that the comments were disheartening.
"There seems to be an emotional disconnect with what we're seeing and how Dr. Livesay perceives things," student body vice president Allison Baker said.
Board of Trustees Chairman John Haynes said administrators are listening and responding to students concerns. He said it's not unusual for Christian colleges to have flare-ups from time to time.
"If you do some research, you'll find this type of thing is going on all across the country," he said.
Students said they need the administration to recognize that things are not "solid" at the school, but they have not yet ruled out reconciliation.
"I think it at the very least means a change in leadership attitude," said senior Joanna Hill.
Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, http://www.timesfreepress.comcomments powered by Disqus