A Christian college in Wenham, Massachusetts has dismissed reports suggesting that its entire faculty senate resigned because they wanted to show their support to a pro-gay professor who was denied promotion.
Earlier this month all seven members of Gordon College's faculty senate issued a joint resignation letter, citing "divergent views" with the school's President, D. Michael Lindsay, and Provost, Janel Curry, regarding their decisions in the process of faculty promotion.
The members of the senate are full professors elected to deal with faculty personnel issues, such as promotions, hiring, tenure, dismissals, and appeals.
While the senate members did not mention any specific case or staff member, there had been some speculation that the resignation was prompted by the denial of assistant sociology professor Margaret DeWeese-Boyd's promotion to full professor, even though she was unanimously approved for promotion by the senate.
DeWeese-Boyd, who has been a vocal advocate of LGBT students and staff, has filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, claiming the school discriminated against her because of her work with the LGBT community.
Following the resignation and the ensuing controversy surrounding the denial of DeWeese-Boyd's promotion, the college's media relations department released a fact page in an attempt to explain the issue.
The college noted that the resignation came after the senate members had already fulfilled most of their duties for the school year and that "three of seven" were already ending their three-year terms this spring.
"It was not expected, though they did first inform Provost Curry a few hours prior to the meeting, and it's an unusual step for senior faculty members to take," the fact sheet stated, according to The Christian Post.
"In their verbal statement to faculty colleagues, the chairperson affirmed the authority and decision-making role of the administration but said she felt the senators could not reconcile divergent views with the provost and president on the process and how final decisions are made, and could no longer be effective in their roles," it continued.
The school also noted that the senators did not mention any "specific decision," "faculty member," or any of the "broader college policies" in their resignation statement.
The senate members clarified that their resignation letters would be the only public statement regarding the issue.
The fact sheet noted that the faculty and the administration are both participating in an ongoing process that will focus on "bridging the differences" and "finding ways to work together."