The only thing people are going to talk about today

The only thing people are going to talk about today in Unitarian Universalist-land is the announcement yesterday from Starr King School for the Ministry that their Ad-Hoc Committee had reported out about the crises associated with their presidential search process last year.

There’s just so much in the letter and the three documents you can download at the end that I scarcely know where to start. The professions of sadness are certainly thorough.

Well, start by reading. The comments are open.

“Closing a Sad Chapter” (SKSM)

Author: Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

10 thoughts on “The only thing people are going to talk about today”

  1. I’m glad this chapter is closing. I’m not sure SKSM will survive it. They’ve lost most of their faculty, and at least a few students.

  2. Two very thorough reports from the Ad Hoc Ctte, and Board transparency in posting their meeting minutes. I applaud the decision to make the content public, but I wish from the start the Board and/or Search Committee had taken more responsibility for the unauthorized circulation of search documents — since unless they were hacked, the leak had to start from someone who had been given the reports legitimately.

  3. Yes, indeed. The pearl-clutching doesn’t hold up. And I can imagine someone’s going to escape any consequences. Dare I say whom?

    Another way to look at it is this: lay out a version of the story and let the public connect the dots. It may be correct, and it may be “6” covering — so as good as it gets — but people can also draw incorrect conclusions. And UUs tend not to hash these things in public well, and punish messengers. Thus this post. Hope springs eternal.

  4. On behalf of the the Unitarian Universalist Society for Community Ministries we are happy to see this unfortunate situation moving toward some sort of closure, however imperfect. We are pleased that our two distressed student members will received their much-delayed degrees and we will continue to hold them, and the former faculty of SKSM who are members of our organization in care to do anything we can to help them get the next part of their lives underway. We are pleased we were able to play a role, however small, in pushing for an end to this matter and are grateful for the support we received from so many in the UU community. -Scot Giles, as President of UUSCM

  5. I am glad the cloud over the students has been removed.

    I am sorry “Strapped Student” and Strapped’s source hasn’t been identified. Those are people I would like not to turn my back to, and not knowing who they are is troubling.

    As for SKSM, I hope those wounds were packed with antibiotics and have appropriate drains in place, because this isn’t going to heal easily. The Ad Hoc Committee seems to have acquitted itself well, doing a job that was inescapably hard and dirty. I wish I could say the same of the board’s actions, though at least they stopped digging the hole deeper.

  6. Honor’s a word not often heard among Unitarian Universalists. There’s plenty of big words among these three documents including whoppers like “Restorative Justice” but Honor’s not one of them.

    I don’t find any honorable acts in this whole story on anyone’s part.

    Someday UUs may well find themselves sitting with some of these folks, on a board and in Executive session, discussing Personnel issues. You’re going to wonder how Honorable these folks will be ’cause their word will be all you got.

  7. Unfortunately, expressions of sadness will not result in lasting change for SKSM as a system. And I am now more persuaded that the leak of the confidential documents did have a whistle-blower element; in so-far that the previous school president seemed to have a clear hand in attempting to choose her own successor. That conduct somewhat taints the integrity of the search process. A system without good boundaries will not exhibit ethical conduct, even with regards to whistle-blowing, restorative justice, or reconciliation.

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