A Facebook group created by a group of Walla Walla University student leaders with the intent of sharing factual information about the WWU presidential search process has attracted more than 2,700 members this week.
Since the group was set up Monday evening, organizers have been steadily building a library of documents explaining each of the most significant developments of the search process thus far. The effort was organized in response to the July 1 decision by the WWU Board of Trustees not to confirm Dr. Alex Bryan, senior pastor of the WWU Church, as the next WWU president.
“There are many of us who are deeply concerned by the Board’s decision,” said Alisa Oberg, one of the students behind the Facebook effort. “Whatever the facts may be, this is a time for open, prayerful conversation. It’s hard to draw any concrete conclusions until we know more, but the decision is certainly not what we were all hoping for.”
Documents posted on the Facebook site include a factual timeline of the presidential search process, several open letters of complaint from prominent members of the WWU community, and also a thorough response to and refutation of an anonymous letter circulated to Board members in the weeks leading up to the July 1 meeting. The letter, considered to have had some measure of influence in the Board’s decision, asserts that Dr. Bryan is unsuitable for the office of WWU president “at this time.”
In addition to the student effort, a petition has been circulating among WWU faculty and staff requesting that Dr. Bryan be reconsidered by the Board of Trustees. The faculty organizers, who wished to remain anonymous until their preparations are complete, stated that their intent is to send the petition to NPUC President and WWU Board Chairman Elder Max Torkelson II sometime this weekend.
The next meeting of the WWU presidential search committee is scheduled for July 16. Since Elder Torkelson will already be in College Place for that meeting, he has agreed to participate in an open question-and-answer session at the invitation of Steve Rose, WWU Vice President for Financial Administration and acting president. The session is open to members of the WWU community, and will be moderated by Dr. David Lindsey, WWU professor of biology and current chair of the Faculty Senate.
Click here for the Facebook site.
Alexander Scott is a senior history major at WWU. He has served as the Student Association Executive Vice President, as a student senator, and is currently in the third year of a 4-year term as a member of the College Place City Council.