Cedarville, The Next Episode

Cedarville, The Next Episode February 16, 2013

It appears to this interested outsider that professors and administrators are pawns on a chess board eliminated by surging faculty and board culture wars. Very sad.

It’s not often that a college’s chief disciplinarian inspires such love. But Carl Ruby, who last month resigned asvice president for student life at this little-known Christian college, has become a symbol of some very public trials, as faculty, students and trustees at Cedarville try to figure out what kind of Christians they are.

Are they sectarian or broad-minded? Fundamentalist or open? Republicans, or independent of political parties? Those who want a less fundamentalist, more open Cedarville believe that Dr. Ruby is a martyr to their cause.

For much of its history, Cedarville, which was founded in 1887, was affiliated with theGeneral Association of Regular Baptist Churches, a fundamentalist organization wary of association even with other conservative groups. But over the past decade, Cedarville, which has 3,400 students, has moved away from its Regular Baptist identity.

Some kinds of dancing are now allowed on campus, for example. And there have been other signs of moderation, troubling to some. Last fall, two philosophy professors caused a stir with “Why I Am Not Voting for Romney,” an editorial in the university newspaper that upset many on this right-leaning campus. Last summer, the contract of another professor,Michael W. Pahl, was not renewed because he had written a book that some critics asserted failed to make strong enough claims for the creation of the world in six days.

Dr. Pahl’s “doctrinal views were inconsistent with doctrines the university holds,” was how Mark D. Weinstein, a spokesman for Cedarville, explained Dr. Pahl’s departure….

Now, some say, the more conservative faction is having its revenge. In an interview, Dr. Brown, the president, offered a wan explanation for his departure, saying that “it’s a long story.” When asked why Dr. Ruby had resigned, Dr. Brown said, “I really don’t know,” explaining that Dr. Ruby reported to the provost. Meanwhile, philosophy has been eliminated as a major, which will most likely mean the departure of Shawn Graves, the untenured half of the duo that wrote the anti-Romney editorial.

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