While protests continued down the hill along Shorter Avenue by those unhappy with the trustees’ decision to require staff members to sign a personal statement of faith, Lu and a handful of students were gathered near the Winthrop-King Centre to show support for the policy and Dowless.
Protests Thursday were marred by a bomb threat.
“Yesterday there’s a bomb alarm, and I just don’t understand it. I wish people to love each other and to support our president. That’s what God likes, and if we follow what God likes, we get blessed,” Lu said.
As for the statement, Lu doesn’t have a problem with it.
“If you like it, if God likes it, and if we follow it, what’s wrong with it?” he asked.
The university commits to hiring only “Bible-believing Christians, who are dedicated to integrating biblical faith in their classes and who are in agreement with the University Statement of Faith.”
Employees must find premarital sex, adultery and homosexuality “unacceptable.” Employees of the university are also forbidden to drink alcoholic beverages in public.
It has been the university’s policy since 2008 to hire Christians only, and that policy is part of the school’s acceptance into the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities.
It is this policy that had Eula Kirkland out in the cold and sitting on her walker near Shorter Avenue, which runs near the entrance of the university. She was joined by more than 100 other protesters.
“I see no need for such a statement. Shorter has always been a Christian institution,” Kirkland said. “When I came back to school I found the warmest, loving Christian atmosphere with all the help you could possibly need from Christian instructors.”
Alum Michael Hillman said this is not the same university he attended.
“When I was here as a student, I was on the chapel committee, even though I’m not Southern Baptist. We invited people from many different denominations to speak at chapel at the time because we wanted to welcome that diversity,” said Hillman.
Dowless responded briefly during his inauguration address Friday to the protests and the bomb threat.
“Recently a few misguided people have used tactics that fly in the face of civility and respect to express disagreement,” he said. “In no way should anyone paint all who may disagree with this administration with the same brush. We continue to invite respectful, constructive conversation and productive debate.
“At the same time we condemn actions of those who would use scare tactics and threats of violence to express opposing views,” Dowless said. “We must keep in the forefront of our academic community that the search for truth liberates us from culturally defining norms within society. God who has revealed to us the Holy Scripture is our reference point in the landed and joyous search for truth.”