Friends and supporters of the Save Hardin-Simmons movement:
This week’s letter from ACTA is incredibly significant. Please SHARE with anyone invested in saving HSU. Please circulate this news widely. It is affirming and encouraging to our work!
Here’s a statement from the leadership hub of Save Hardin-Simmons:
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) is an independent, nonprofit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America’s colleges and universities. They also thoroughly investigate action by university trustees. Today, ACTA publicly released a letter sent to the HSU board of trustees which raises serious concerns.
This letter highlights so much of what inspired the group Save Logsdon Seminary, and now Save Hardin-Simmons. HSU’s survival is in question unless further action is taken.
Noting trustees should be more than “boosters, cheerleaders, and donors,” ACTA raises three serious concerns that may threaten HSU’s accreditation with The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC):
1. Threats to Academic Freedom
“Academic freedom and an engaged professoriate are the lifeblood of a university. As such, we strongly encourage HSU’s leaders—senior administrators and board members—to attend assiduously to cultivating norms of shared governance and raising faculty morale.”
HSU’s trustees “did not appropriately encourage faculty participation” by issuing a clear plan and reasons for eliminating programs. Save Hardin-Simmons has observed how this blindsided students and faculty, leading to a 64% vote of “no confidence” in HSU’s current president.
2. Rising overhead costs and a boom in construction expenditures as degree programs were slashed
HSU trustees approved a 29% increase in administrative costs from 2018-19 and a 40% increase in Management and Business and Financial Operations over seven years, at a time when faculty salaries rose only 3.5% and many faculty were fired. During a period when programs were being cut, over $11.8 million in construction costs were underway.
Save Hardin-Simmons has repeatedly asked for a forensic audit with the results released to the public. The financial numbers do not add up. We will continue to ask for financial transparency from HSU administration.
3. Concern over donor agreement violations
The letter reminds the trustees “donors and alumni are often a university’s most important ambassadors.” And urges “each board member, if you have not done so already, to review the exact terms of any gift agreements connected with the Logsdon Seminary so as to ensure that HSU will always be viewed by its donor base as the most dependable of partners.” This is imperative for trust between the university and donors to make sure agreements have not been breached.
Save Hardin-Simmons is very thankful for ACTA’s leadership. We will continue to seek their guidance and pointed advice.
Now, we ask you to read the letter in detail for yourself (attached, as well as this link: https://www.goacta.org/…/acta-writes-to-hardin-simmons-univ…).
The Leadership Hub of the Save Hardin-Simmons movement
P.S. For anyone new to awareness of this movement and would like further reading, here are some stories:
– High-profile HSU critic energizes Save Logsdon Seminary campaign (https://baptistnews.com/…/high-profile-hsu-critic-energiz…/…)
– Former deans and provost criticize plan to close Logsdon (https://www.baptiststandard.com/…/former-deans-and-provost…/)
– Hundreds of supporters seek answers about closing of Logsdon Seminary in open letter (https://baptistnews.com/…/hundreds-of-supporters-seek-ans…/…) and here is the letter itself: https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLScxXIpucYHgNpedRv…/viewform
– HSU community pens letter to university president asking for transparency, integrity (https://www.bigcountryhomepage.com/…/hsu-community-pens-l…/…)
– Logsdon Seminary will be shuttered: 7 Questions for Hardin-Simmons University’s president and trustees (https://baptistnews.com/…/logsdon-seminary-will-be-shutte…/…)
– Reaction and Response: Logsdon Seminary Closing (https://ethicsdaily.com/reaction-and-response-logsdon-semi…/)
– Closing the Hardin-Simmons seminary eliminates an important place of broad thinking among evangelicals (https://www.dallasnews.com/…/closing-the-hardin-simmons-s…/…)
– Response to President Eric Bruntmyer’s Letter to HSU Alumni and Members of the News Media by Don Williford, retired Dean of Logsdon Seminary (https://billjoneswritings.com/…/response-to-president-eric…/)