Faculty Wife | Part 16

by Elouise

1972 Oct Columbia Bible College Sherry and Scott not to be fed

What’s a Mom to do? I empathize with park authorities who post signs like this!

Spring 1973. Things are heating up. Most days I’m not on the Bible college campus. I come when I need to. Usually for social events or occasional appointments. Now that our son and daughter are older, I enjoy being in an environment where I can, to some extent, let our children play on their own.

When the weather is good, I bring their wheels. The campus is full of great sidewalks and friendly students and staff. Too friendly sometimes when it comes to candy or cookies! The photo above documents my last-gasp attempt to intercept these friends who can’t resist handing out goodies. Click on photo to enlarge.

One day in early spring, D brings home a note for me from the president. He would like to see me at my convenience. Why? D has no idea what this is about. Still, I make the appointment and show up on time.

I walk into the president’s office and take a seat. After brief pleasantries, the president tells me why he wants to talk with me. He puts it something like this, ‘We have a problem on our hands, and I’m hoping you can help solve it.’

We do? I’m clueless. The president gets right to the point. ‘Elouise, I need your help. I don’t know whether you’ve noticed it, but your husband has become very angry. Have you noticed that?’

This feels like triangulation, though I don’t yet know what that word means. I do, however, feel trapped and at a disadvantage. I tell him I haven’t noticed D’s anger.

Well, he continues, he’s still hoping I can help ‘calm him down.’ I assure him I cannot not calm D down, and that if I try to, I’ll only make things worse.

I also tell him that, in my experience, if D gets angry, he works it out his way. In fact, it usually takes a while for him to work things out in his head so that he knows why he’s angry and what he might do about it.

Well. This wasn’t what the president wanted to hear. But what could he do? It was a short conversation.

I did, however, know that D was in distress. So was I.

The faculty and administration had recently voted not to accept the report and recommendations of an outside paid consultant. He was a well-known expert in his field. D knew him professionally and respected him.

The consultant spent time learning about the history and culture of the Bible College and interviewed students, staff, administrators and faculty members. When he finished, he gave an oral report to the entire community and then presented a written report with recommendations, also available to the entire community.

Many of his recommendations were things D talked about with the president. D hoped this would be the beginning of substantive change for the better.

For example, the Bible College might begin treating students as the adults they were. D voted to accept the report and recommendations. Most of his colleagues did not. D was distressed, along with several others who had hoped for a different outcome.

When I get home and report my brief conversation with the president, D is dumbfounded. Perhaps this is another sign that our days here are numbered.

There’s at least one more sign to come.

To be continued….

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 2 November 2015
Photo credit: DAFraser, Spring 1973