People who love Shorter University want the beloved, historic school to return to a place of eminence in the community. The disdain and harsh criticism that appears in social media, in letters to the editor and guest columns cause damage to the University and hurt employees and students. I hope this letter shows that there is another side to this story, and it is a positive and encouraging one.
As an alumna and director of Student Health Services for 21 years, I served under the presidencies of four fine men. Much of what has been said about Shorter has been inaccurate because emotions have precluded accuracy. When faced with someone sharing “facts” about Shorter, mindful people should ask questions such as where did the information come from; did the person actually speak with the president or human resources; or did the person review the financial records? If not, their knowledge probably did not come from a reputable source, but is based on conjecture, not fact.
Concerned individuals often ask me about Shorter. While clarifying any distortions, I encourage them to speak with Dr. Dowless. Scripture teaches that one who has an offense against another should take that offense to the person (Matthew 18:15). It frustrates me that Dr. Dowless will not respond to personal attacks, but as a minister, he lives what he preaches. He is a man of prayer, and he is able to forgive those who disparage him.
As for the rumored demise of the music department, it remains alive and well with talented, award-winning music majors and well-trained faculty. One has only to attend a concert or performance to appreciate the quality and beauty of the work put forth by our faculty and students.
Dr. Dowless has financial and educational visions for the university. He believes that “it is God’s money” and Shorter “works for God alone.” Consistent, prudent handling of finances is a way of daily life on “the Hill,” as it is in many small, private colleges. All employees work hard to be good stewards of university resources.
Hate is not tolerated at Shorter University, as inaccurately expressed in a recent letter. Regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation, qualified students are welcome at Shorter. The Lifestyle Statement is signed by employees, who promise to refrain from certain behaviors while in Shorter’s employ. Shorter has First Amendment rights as a private Baptist college. It does not dictate how Rome’s community should live or believe.
Shorter’s mission statement is “Advancing God’s Kingdom through a commitment to academic excellence, spiritual growth, Christian leadership and global service within the context of a Biblical worldview,” and sends students into the world to reach others for Christ. Shorter’s faculty, staff and students contribute mightily to the community through sharing of their time, energy and money. Shorter is essential to this great community, and it will benefit both when there is unity.
Please support Shorter with your good will, your words, and, if so led, your finances.