Inside Higher Ed
June 29th, 2015
The board of Northwest Nazarene University announced Friday that it is standing behind a decision to end the job of a theologian whom students, former students and colleagues view as a model teacher and an important thinker.
Officially the elimination of Thomas Jay Oord's job was a layoff that the university said was necessary for financial reasons. But professors and others doubt that reason, and say that universities don't generally eliminate the jobs of their best known and most loved faculty members -- especially those with tenure -- without faculty consultation and without sound evidence of financial distress. Many of Oord's supporters believe his job was eliminated because his views on evolution clash with those of some Nazarene traditionalists. And for many, his case has raised concerns about the state of academic freedom at some religious institutions.