Shorter University classes cancelled after bomb threat

7:44 PM, Nov 10, 2011   |    comments
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  • Shorter University in Rome, Georgia.
  • Shorter University police

ROME, Ga. -- "We believe in honest disagreement, but we draw the line at such things like bomb threats," Shorter University President Donald Dowless told 11 Alive News on Thursday.

Dowless said he was disappointed that a bomb threat forced evacuation of the Southern Baptist college's Rome campus.

No bomb was found, but classes were cancelled for both Thursday and Friday.

A formal inauguration ceremony for Pres. Dowless will still be held Friday, six months after he took over the job.

The school's administration and board of trustees have come under fire in recent weeks over a new Personal Lifestyle Statement that must be signed by all faculty and staff.

The policy says Shorter will only hire "Bible-believing Christians" and that it rejects homosexuality and other sexual activity "not in agreement with the Bible." It also forbids employees from drinking in public or with students.

Students, who are not required to be Christians, do not have to sign the lifestyle statement.  

President Dowless told 11 Alive News the school's leadership will not back down or compromise on the policy.

"No, our core convictions won't change, but we're still open to dialoging with people, discussing with people who we are as an institution," he added.

"I don't know if they will back down; I know that miracles can happen," said former Shorter professor Betty Zane Morris.

Retired after 46 years on the faculty, Morris plans to join other former faculty, alumni and students in a protest at the entrance to the main campus Friday morning.

They believe the new employee lifestyle pledge goes too far and could ruin the school's reputation.

"We fear the college could collapse completely; we fear that accreditation could be lost," Morris told 11 Alive News.

Shorter's President brushed aside that fear, saying his university isn't doing anything that other private christian colleges haven't done.

"North Greenville has similar values as does Wheaton College, Notre Dame; Brigham Young has similar policies," Dowless added.


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