Paige Patterson, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, SBC, #Churchtoo, #ChurchToo, #MeToo
A new statement was just released at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary:
During the May 30, 2018, Executive Committee meeting of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) Board of Trustees, new information confirmed this morning was presented regarding the handling of an allegation of sexual abuse against a student during Dr. Paige Patterson’s presidency at another institution and resulting issues connected with statements to the Board of Trustees that are inconsistent with SWBTS’s biblically informed core values.
Deeming the information demanded immediate action and could not be deferred to a regular meeting of the Board, based on the details presented, the Executive Committee unanimously resolved to terminate Dr. Paige Patterson, effective immediately, removing all the benefits, rights and privileges provided by the May 22-23 board meeting, including the title of President Emeritus, the invitation to reside at the Baptist Heritage Center as theologian-in-residence and ongoing compensation.
Under the leadership of Interim President Dr. Jeffrey Bingham, SWBTS remains committed to its calling to assist the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention by biblically educating God-called men and women for ministries that fulfill the Great Commission and glorify God.
Further, the Seminary stands against all forms of abuse and grieves for individuals wounded by abuse. Today, Dr. Bingham made it clear that SWBTS denounces all abusive behavior, any behavior that enables abuse, any failure to protect the abused and any failure to safeguard those who are vulnerable to abuse. Additionally, Dr. Bingham called for the SWBTS community to join the Body of Christ in praying for healing for all individuals affected by abuse.
I have a class tonight, but as I can, I will be adding more information to this post because there are other developments that probably helped the Executive Committee to come to their decision to terminate Dr. Paige Patterson.
I am so happy for the women who spoke out. This is your victory! I’m sorry it came at such a cost.
I highly suspect the following articles have to do with Patterson’s termination:
The rape victim was hopeful the SWBTS trustee chairman could hold President Patterson accountable for Patterson’s treatment of her. But she was told by Chairman Ueckert that he must have documentation that the rape actually occurred at SEBTS in 2003 before he could speak of it to the SWBTS trustees. The trustees were convening to consider Paige Patterson’s continued employment as President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and documentation was needed of what happened and how it was handled.
The rape victim discovered in the last few weeks that the local Wake Forest police department had no documentation of the rape because Paige Patterson never reported it to them. Of course, she had been told by President Patterson at the time of the rape not to report it because the SEBTS and President Patterson would deal with it. So law enforcement was a dead end.
But the rape victim knew that Southeastern Seminary had the necessary documentation that she could give to Chairman Ueckert. She’d received letters from the President’s office after meeting with him.
Why not just give Chairman Ueckert the letters that she received from Dr. Patterson back in 2003? It would at least prove a meeting occurred, even if Dr. Patterson implied he couldn’t remember such a meeting.
Well, it seems the rape victim had thrown away her documentation a few years ago because every time she saw them in the cabinets, the memory of what happened to her put her in an emotional tailspin.
But Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary keeps all its Presidential letters in the archives.
All Southern Baptist institutions keep documents issued by their Presidents on Presidential letterhead. Those documents are the property of the institution, not the President. Back in 2003, copies of institutional letters weren’t stored in the “digital cloud.” Actual hard copies were kept by the institution in boxes called “archives.”
Surviving SWBTS- Life As A Female Employee and Student In A Pattersonian Culture By Diane Montgomery
Diane worked in the Admissions Office:
Orders were sent down from the President’s office to break these policies for “exceptions,” which were usually made after Dr. Patterson traveled abroad and met someone who wanted an education at our school but could not meet the requirements, including the government’s requirements for international students; these requests were made knowing the consequences and risks to our school. For example, when the counseling program was replaced with the Biblical Counseling track, there were many applicants who did not meet the admission policies, including a personal testimony of faith, but I was told I had to accept as many applicants as possible to bump up the numbers for the new track so that it looked better for the trustees, even if that meant making more “exceptions.”
These orders from Dr. Patterson put our school in jeopardy with accreditation and the government over and over again. Each time I questioned these “exceptions” with my director and supervisor, I was told, “What the President wants, the President gets.”
She dealt with misogyny and discrimination:
Whenever my immediate supervisor left his position, I asked if I might be considered for the job since I had been doing much of his duties at the time. I was told by my immediate supervisor, however, that I would never be considered because I was woman.
During my time working and studying on campus, I was singled out many times for my body type and clothing. One winter, Dr. Patterson’s executive secretary came down from the President’s office to my office and pulled me aside to tell me that I needed to go home and change. I was wearing a loose, long sleeve dress and knee-high boots that met the strict dress code requirements for female school employees (knee-length skirts and dresses only). The only parts of my body showing were my neck and my knees. She criticized me for dressing so immodestly and told me words I would never forget, “I don’t know what it is about men and knees, but they have a thing for knees. You need to leave and go home and change now.” I left that conversation feeling ashamed, demoralized, and like a hussy.