January 24, 2007
Dr. Belle Wheelan, President
Commission on Colleges
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
1866 Southern Lane
Decatur, GA 30033
Dear Dr. Wheelan:
Congratulations on your election to the presidency of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and especially for becoming the first African-American woman to rise to such an esteemed office of higher education. As a graduate of two institutions accredited by SACS, a former student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a doctoral candidate at another SACS-accredited university, I am especially grateful for the diligence with which the commission undertakes its responsibility to ensure the integrity of accredited institutions of higher learning. The process of accreditation and review is surely cumbersome, but the benefit of having an accrediting agency such as the one over which you currently preside far outweighs the burden upon college administrators to maintain the respectability of our country’s institutions of higher education.
I submit to you this letter of official complaint against one of the member institutions accredited by the Commission on Colleges. I am copying this letter of complaint to each member of the Texas Delegation to the Commission on Colleges for their review. I am requesting that you investigate what appears to be a serious breach of the accreditation guidelines for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX. Should the commission determine that such a breach has occurred, I hereby request that you undertake any and all necessary means to bring Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary back in line with the accreditation guidelines of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Below are the facts that warrant investigation by the Commission on Colleges:
- During the April 8-10, 2002, Trustee Meeting of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, TX, seminary trustees approved the election of Dr. Sheri Klouda as a tenure-track professor to teach biblical languages in the seminary’s theology school. Dr. Klouda is a graduate of the Criswell College in Dallas, TX, holding both the B.A. and the M.A. with honors. She received her Ph.D. in Old Testament from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary later that Spring. I have attached to this letter Dr. Klouda’s Curriculum Vitae as Appendix A.
- Dr. Klouda was elected with the status of assistant professor.The Policy Manual of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Section VII, page 30, defines an assistant professor as “a teacher who holds a doctor’s degree or its equivalent in professional experience in the field of instruction and who has shown evidence of special ability as a teacher and scholar.”I have attached to this letter the entirety of Section VII as Appendix B.
- As a tenure-track professor in the school of theology, Dr. Klouda was guaranteed a clearly-defined process of tenure review. Section Ten of the seminary’s Policy Manual defines the process of tenure review, which I have attached to this letter as Appendix C.
- All pronominal language in the Policy Manual is careful to reflect the gender diversity of faculty status and the equity of tenure review for both male and female professors at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
- The Policy Manual makes no gender distinction between the various schools of music, evangelism, theology, and educational ministries relevant to the selection of tenure-track faculty.
- Dr. Sheri Klouda, subsequent to her election as a tenure-track assistant professor, was informed by the seminary administration that she would be ineligible for tenure review because of her gender. I have attached as Appendix Dseveral news articles substantiating this claim, including statement from both Dr. Klouda and the trustee chairman, Dr. Van McClain.
- Considerable evidence exists that Dr. Sheri Klouda was denied the process of tenure review outlined in the Policy Manual, and that she was denied the process on the basis of unenumerated criteria and gender bias, which constitutes a violation of the tenure policy guidelines adopted by the seminary trustees and governing the institution.
I am available to you should you require further information to substantiate an accreditation review of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, an institution which has already, in the recent past, faced investigations and citations for its failure to meet accreditation guidelines as required by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Thank you for your diligence. The solvency of accrediting agencies such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is further assured by your expedience and thoroughness in this matter.
CC: Elva Concha LeBlanc, President
Tarrant County College – Northwest Campus
John R. Brazil, President
Blandina Cardenas, President
The University of Texas – Pan American
William R. Crowe, President
Tyler Junior College
Martha Ellis, President
Robert I. Fernandez, President
Fernandez & Company
Royce L. Money, President
Abilene Christian University
Jesse W. Rogers, President
Midwestern State University
Denise M. Trauth, President
Texas State University – San Marcos
George C.Wright, President
Prairie View A&M University
2 thoughts on “Another letter…and one more on the way!”
Outstanding! I am amazed and disgusted at the actions of Southwestern. I hope and pray your letters get someone’s attention.
Oh. You signed this official letter “BSC”?