-Fair Treatment to all college employees -
Dr. Chris Stewart’s article, “The Great Divide,” published in The Houghton Star and in the Milieu, addressed some misconceptions that Christians have about glorifying God through their professions. I could not have addressed this theme any better. Stewart hit the spot.
It’s very peculiar how Houghton College seems to embrace Stewart’s thesis—that whatever one does as a profession, as long as it does not blatantly contravene God’s commandments and biblical principles, brings glory to God; there are no “better” professions in the kingdom of God—but in the praxis The Great Divide permeates this institution to the point of grossing out (almost) anyone who knows about it. A Christian liberal arts institution playing favorites on who is more important, who can keep the job and who can be easily discarded, whose projects and ideas will put into practice, and who cannot even open his or her mouth to comment on something…classy.
In my four years as a student-worker in the Maintenance Department, learning about the financial, administrative and (obviously) physical inner workings of this college, I have been convinced that if you are a regular staff member, your voice, if not “requested” by The Rich and The Powerful (and they are), is of little importance to the dynamics of this institution. No bachelor’s degree, no master’s degree, no doctoral degree, plain and simple, equals no voice and no vote in this college. If you are not part of the elite you are threatened to receive last-minute pay cuts, you can be relocated with ease, your position maybe eliminated in the blink of an eye, or, simply put, you can be fired. (Exception to this rule: you can have a doctoral degree and you can be loved by your students, but if you defy the ideological status quo and put freedom-from-ignorance into practice, you are a heinous criminal and you will be fired.)
I understand that
The Untouchables are treated with lengthy trips, multiple farewell parties (but they actually never leave or retire), classrooms and scholarships after their names, special awards, and so on and so forth. This is not supposed to be questioned by anyone since, like I said before, they financially support the college, give much-needed support to others more powerful than them, or are related to someone in power. The 2005 review by the Middle States Commission noted the clique-ish behavior in this institution, just so you know.
This Great Divide is real and needs to be addressed. Threatening the welfare of some staffers’ families, but not others, by unjustifiably eliminating some positions or reducing working hours, needs to stop. We are under a new college administration and the elitist mindset and institutional structure needs to be addressed properly. Our new president is very committed to open communication and fairness, but as long as she inadvertently surrounds herself by The Untouchables this task will be near to impossible to accomplish. With a new administration there is also the threat of carrying out misguided institutional policy due to ill advice and ignorance. Learning about how this institution works requires consulting with “the untouchables” (yes, the regular staffers)—not only their bosses—who really know what’s going on in this place and who really run this place. Informing regular staffers that “there will be major changes” and that they “should be prepared,” but not actually wanting to know more about their lives and other activities, is outright unjust and insulting. Try that with a non-staffer or one of The Untouchables….
After I graduate this May I will continue loving and supporting
Pretty much all staffers are rich in joy, wisdom and Christian spirit, but in some sectors of this institution this is simply unthinkable. These workers can receive a good-bye letter with not much difficulty. Try that with a non-staffer or one of The Untouchables….
Eradicating The Great Divide in
Moreover, and lastly, the concept and practice of community in