Tuesday, June 13, 2006

As someone who knows a little something about being forced into early retirement by Southwest Baptist University -- I lost my job at the school newspaper 25 years ago for publicly disagreeing with the school's new no-smoking policy -- I'm sorry to report, rather late in the game, that my old biology teacher, Dr. Carl Huser, has been pink-slipped (sorta) by that cranky institution after four decades. His crime? He taught evolution as fact, God bless him.

He isn't the only one who's gotten the urge for going at Southwest. There's also theater teacher Greg Fiebig, whom I knew back in the day -- in fact I stole my copy of Jesus Christ Superstar from his sister Sally -- and who has gotten tired of having to submit plays to a group of censors. (At least in my day we got away with performing Archibald MacLeish's JB, which tells the story of Job very much from the perspective of the victim, and doesn't quite let the Deity off very easily. I played Zophar the Naamathite, pretty much the highlight of my theatrical career.)

Both are given a surprisingly frank and gracious send-off in the Omnibus.

The case also gets thrashed out in a student's encouragingly intelligent letter to the paper, as well as in a couple of highly entertaining blogs: one from a left-leaning masochist who actually teaches at SBU, and one from a right-leaning grad.

A sad case all around, but hardly surprising: SBU is not now and has never been a progressive university, and as long as it receives money from the Southern Baptist Convention, it likely isn't going to be. I'm surprised the good doctor managed to stay at the place as long as he did -- I well remember him railing against the coming onslaught of Ronald Reagan -- let alone teaching science.

I hope he finds another place to teach. He was one of the campus good guys.

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