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All Members of Faculty Senate at Gordon College Resign Their Posts

(Updated, 11:30 p.m., 4/9/2017, with additional background.)

All seven members of Gordon College’s Faculty Senate resigned from their elected posts on Wednesday over disagreements with administrators over shared governance, The Tartan, the Massachusetts campus’s student newspaper, reported.

According to The Boston Globe, the resignations came in an apparent show of support for a faculty member who says she was denied a promotion because she has criticized the Christian college’s opposition to same-sex relationships.

The faculty member, Margaret DeWeese-Boyd, an assistant professor of sociology, asserts in a complaint to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination that the college’s president and provost denied her a promotion to full professor, overriding a unanimous recommendation of the Faculty Senate, because she has openly criticized the policy since 2013.

The college strongly disagrees with the allegations made in Ms. DeWeese-Boyd’s complaint, a spokesman told the Globe, but he declined to comment further, saying the college does not discuss personnel issues.

The faculty members who resigned from the senate did not mention Ms. DeWeese-Boyd by name in a statement about their resignations, a lawyer for the professor told the Globe, but they cited the president’s refusal to follow the senate’s recommendations for promotions.

The college spokesman, Rick Sweeney, said in an email to The Chronicle that administrators were disappointed that the faculty senators who resigned had “rejected a request for further conversation before their decision became final.”

“In their verbal statement to faculty colleagues, the chairperson affirmed the authority and decision-making role of the administration but said she felt the senators could not reconcile divergent views on the process and could no longer be effective in their roles,” Mr. Sweeney said. “We continue to believe that a highly effective Senate facilitates the flourishing of Gordon’s faculty and very much want to work together in collaborative and valuable forms of shared governance, especially when perspectives differ on the process and outcomes.”

The college’s policy forbidding “homosexual practice” among its students, faculty, and staff has put it in the spotlight before. In 2014, its president, D. Michael Lindsay, joined the leaders of 13 other religious colleges in signing a letter requesting an exemption from a federal ban on anti-gay discrimination by federal contractors.

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