Mary Frances Schjonberg reports for Episcopal News Service:
Former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold will facilitate the Oct. 16 meeting between trustees of the General Theological Seminary and eight professors whose employment is at the core of the dispute involving complaints about the conduct of the school’s dean and president.
The General trustees agreed Oct. 13 during a teleconference to have the facilitated discussion with the aim of achieving greater clarity, understanding, and reconciliation, according to trustee Chair Bishop Mark Sisk (retired of New York).
A meeting between trustees and the professors was already scheduled for Oct. 16. The addition of a facilitator is a new development, one apparently suggested by the eight professors and agreed to by the board. The board asked Griswold to fill that role.
Multiple graduates of GTS have written again to the seminary’s board of trustees to express their concerns:
- Current arrangements to have visiting/adjunct professors for the seminary’s core curriculum are merely a stopgap measure and only increase the prospects of the seminary’s ultimate demise. Current measures disrespect the dignity of Professors, many of whom have given years of their lives in service to General. You must not underestimate the strong message being sent by the greater academic community and the wider church in which well over 900 scholars and religious leaders have signed a petition in solidarity with the faculty.
- To that end, we believe it is an act of injustice that health insurance for these faculty and their families has been terminated so abruptly. What a disappointing witness to the world when an institution representing the church acts in such a callous way.
- We, along with people throughout the church, are baffled as to why the allegations made against the Dean and President are not being investigated appropriately under the official provisions of Title IV of the Canons of The Episcopal Church. If such an investigation is underway it needs to be clearly communicated.
Image of the Close at General Theological Seminary by Beyond My Ken (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons