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Questioning NNU’s President, Part 3: The Vote of No Confidence

Photo by Brandon Hill Photography
Photo by Brandon Hill Photography

NNU’s President, David Alexander, is stuck. His actions, resulting in the firing of tenured theology professor, Tom Oord, have drawn attention from all corners of the the Christian academic community and the Church of the Nazarene. You can read my summary of the situation here. It is my personal belief, that the actions Alexander has taken in recent years discredits his reasons for Oord’s termination now. To demonstrate this belief, I have been writing this 3 part series on Questioning NNU’s President. You can read Part 1 and Part 2.

I was going to write a part 3 today. I was going to detail a faculty meeting with Alexander, where the faculty offered to forgo their raises ($400k) in order to abjure any layoffs (the means for the $400k). I was going to write how Alexander refused to accept the faculty’s plea, citing that no raises and no layoffs were a short-term solution.

I was going to write about that at length. But then something happened yesterday.

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Questioning NNU’s President, Part 2: The Capital Education Marketing Failure

Photo by Brandon Hill Photography
Thomas Jay Oord, photo by Brandon Hill Photography

Northwest Nazarene University is in a bit of an upheaval following the announcement of Dr. Tom Oord’s layoff, a tenured and senior theology professor. Oord’s layoff has raised many questions about NNU President David Alexander’s decisions and actions, not only in the recent weeks, but throughout his 7 year presidency at NNU. Decisions about layoffs, reorganization of department staff/faculty, and recruitment strategies have been described as “dictator” like. Alexander has ignored advisement and faculty voice in many of these decisions (the topic of part 3). In this part 2 of a series I’m calling “Questioning NNU’s President,” I hope to shed some light on one particular decision that negatively affected several graduate programs at NNU: handing marketing of graduate programs to Capital Education–a service provider to online educational programs. 

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Christian Culture Church Leadership

Questioning NNU’s President, Part 1: The Graduate Counseling Ed Program

Photo by Brandon Hill Photography
Photo by Brandon Hill Photography

In my last post, I summarized the events surrounding Dr. Tom Oord’s termination at Northwest Nazarene University. I also described the broken trust between the campus community and NNU president, David Alexander.

Over the next three blog posts, I want to ask deeper questions about Alexander’s actions that lead up to the dismissal of Tom Oord. I also want to mention details that I believe every prospective student, declined applicant, pastor, parent, student, staff, and faculty member should know.

I’m calling these posts “Questioning NNU’s President.”

Part 1: The Graduate Counseling Ed Program

Part 2: The Capital Education Marketing Failure

Part 3: The Faculty Request for Collaborative Governance

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Christian Culture Church Leadership Theology

Why is Tom Oord getting fired?

Photo by Brandon Hill Photography
Photo by Brandon Hill Photography

Look, I have no idea why my former systematics professor is getting fired. 

Apparently, Dr. Tom Oord received an email from Northwest Nazarene University’s administration during vacation/holy week, notifying him that he’s out of a job come the end of the semester. On Maundy Thursday, I received an invite to a Facebook group that was sharing information and support for Oord. In one week, over a thousand people joined that group, people have given over $1500 to support Oord, college students have organized protests marked by hash tags and redshirts, wikipedia pages have been developed, fact sheets have been disseminated, the administration has emailed pastors in hopes of clearing things up, and a Q & A session has been set up for students on campus.

But still, no one knows why Oord is being canned. 

Well, I guess someone knows, but none of us do.
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Why I Left the Church of the Nazarene

          Thank you everyone for reading and sharing my story. The reach and response have been absolutely overwhelming! Thank you for all your comments on this page, on Facebook, and through private messages. I read all of them, though I may not be able to respond to all of them. Thank you again. I have also made one correction below: the church that I served and worshipped at while I was in college was an Evangelical Methodist Church, not a Free Methodist Church as I had thought. 

          About 5 years ago, I left the denomination that introduced me to Jesus. I didn’t walk out of the Church of the Nazarene with fanfare, fireworks or middle fingers. My relationship with the CotN had more of a soft closing. But I did leave. I let my credentials lapse.  I’m currently serving, preaching, and pursuing ordination in the United Methodist Church. When I first left the CotN, I got emails left and right from different pastors and friends wanting to know if it was true that I left, why I left, and if I’ll consider staying. Eventually, those kind of emails stopped. Now, I get emails from young Nazarene ministers asking me why I left, if they should leave, where they could go, and how to leave gracefully. I haven’t been shy about this conversation in person, but I haven’t Facebooked or said anything publicly about leaving the CotN, mostly because I love the CotN and I don’t want to hurt my friends there or somehow appear bitter. But I think it’s time I shared my story because I am entirely uncomfortable caring for so many ministry hopefuls who feel like they can’t serve in a church they love.

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