A month ago, we read with mild interest that Lenoir-Rhyne College was merging with the (badly named) Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. "Ah," we thought. "A cost-saving move. Fire some secretaries and IT people and whatnot." Our assumption was that the two would become one principally at the administrative level, retaining their separate campuses (for a while), as well as their degree programs and faculties.
Oops. Our bad.
Today, we learned that the merged institution has declined to re-hire three members of the seminary faculty: Mary Havens (history), Robert Hawkins (worship) and David Yeago (systematics). All three are long-serving, tenured and prominent in their fields.
An online petition by and for alumni suggests, strongly, that this development came quite a surprise.
Bear in mind that the seminary only has 13 professors, so this is a substantial number. Bear in mind further that church history, worship and systematic theology are part of the core curriculum of a theological school. Fire the Greek, Hebrew and homiletics teachers, and you might as well teach engineering.
Now, we're not especially well-informed about any of this. We didn't go to Southern, for one thing. We do know a couple of profs there, but, save by reputation, not these three. So we certainly won't fly off in a righteous dudgeon (nor would we even if our dudgeon were fueled up and waiting on the runway). We have not signed the petition, and don't intend to.
But we'd certainly like to know what is going on. Do any readers, by chance, have more information about what the rationale might be for a such a seemingly odd move?