Shorter University has accepted the “resignation” of Michael Wilson, a tenured faculty member who refused to affirm a new “personal lifestyle statement” that rejects homosexuality.
By Bob Allen
A gay librarian at Shorter University who refused to sign a statement rejecting homosexuality has been fired, the Save Our Shorter website reported June 7.
Michael Wilson, 50, off-campus librarian for professional studies since 1998, returned his employment contract May 3 along with a redacted copy of Shorter’s new “personal lifestyle statement” striking the sentence: “I reject as acceptable all sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible, including, but not limited to, premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality.”
Wilson, a tenured faculty member, also wrote a letter asking Shorter President Don Dowless to reconsider his stated intent to dismiss anyone who does not agree with provisions of the statement that was adopted by the university’s board of trustees.
Three weeks later Wilson received a two-sentence letter from Provost Craig Shull accepting his “resignation” effective May 31.
Wilson replied that he had not resigned and had “no intention of doing so.”
Dowless responded that what Wilson submitted was not “a valid, fully executed contract for continued employment.”
“Since you have not returned a valid contract, you do not have a contract for the upcoming academic year,” Dowless explained.
Trustees of Shorter, a private Christian school in Rome, Ga., adopted both the lifestyle statement and a new statement of faith last fall to reflect conservative views of the Georgia Baptist Convention, which won the right to elect the school’s trustees in a 2005 ruling by the Georgia Supreme Court.
So far, 63 faculty and staff have resigned rather than sign the statement, the Save Our Shorter site reported June 5. The school’s faculty usually numbers about 100 full-time members.
Wilson says no one at Shorter asked him about his sexual orientation when they hired him 14 years ago, but school officials probably knew he was gay when they gave him tenure in 2006.