I am confused.
As I write this post, Bethel College in Newton, KS (my Alma Mater) is in a "Presidential Transition". While I understand what that means, I do not understand the impetus. I've included all of the information I have received concerning this matter below. Since this information is limited, I do not want to speculate. I do want to express my frustrations and concerns.
I have been frustrated with Bethel's opaque and disorganized communication procedures many times in recent years. My frustration has increased. I believe that if Bethel is to survive their current travails and prosper in the future, the Board of Directors needs to immediately adopt a policy of transparency in communication. The Board is defined (and should act) as representative. Instead, they function as sequestered oligarchs. The institutional communications are disorganized, poorly scheduled, and obtuse. And the pattern of such is long. From poorly communicated program reviews to budget cuts without clear foundation and forward to this "Transition".
Yesterday, I received two emails from Bethel. The first was the official press release:
Here is a link to the Official Press Release which does not specify why the change was made and names John Sheriiff (EVP for institutional development) as interim replacement.
The second email I received was a forward of Barry Bartel's message to the Bethel Campus. I have included that message below:
Sent: Monday, August 17, 2009 3:06 PM
To: community-announce; All Students at Bethel College
Subject: Presidential Transition
Bethel College Community:
Yesterday morning I was informed that the Bethel College Board determined in a special session on Saturday that it is in the best interest of Bethel College to change presidential leadership. While I disagree and while this is very painful, Iwill do everything I can to help ensure that the transition is smooth and that it helps to strengthen Bethel College. While the Board develops a search process, the Board has asked and John Sheriff has agreed to serve in an interim role beginning immediately. I fully support John moving into this role and am confident in his leadership in this transition.
We were settled in Denver when the inquiry came from the search committee over three years ago. We ultimately felt that God had a role in calling us to this position, and it has been an honor and a privilege to serve Bethel College and the Mennonite church in this way. As we enter a stage of uncertainty in our lives, I trust that the Board is seeking and is being guided by God's hand. We appreciate your prayers for our family and for Bethel.