On July 9, Louisiana College (LC) trustees held a special meeting to affirm the resignation of the former chairman of the board Joe Nesom and to elect the new chairman. At the meeting, Bill Hudson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Rayne, La was elected as the new chairman of the board, whose immediate responsibility includes protecting the college's integrity and financial stability.
Newsom decided to resign because he disagreed on the new policies that the LC recently adopted. Newsom was concerned of many negative consequences that could be extremely detrimental to the college. In his resignation letter, Newsom wrote:
"I am not encouraged by what I have seen recently. We seem to have forgotten the hope of making Louisiana College a better school. Our concerns have turned from academic excellence, and from a desire to see the college embrace its Baptist heritage with enthusiasm, to concerns that have nothing to do with historic Baptist doctrine or practice."
Nesom, while no longer chairman, does retain his position on the board of trustees until Jan. 31, 2005. In the letter, he also mentioned that the Louisiana Baptist Convention leadership was calling for change.
"I hope that this will call attention to the fact that something has gone badly wrong in the nomination process for members of the Louisiana College board," Nesom wrote. "The only thing that can correct that problem is a change in the leadership of the convention itself, and the need is urgent."
Because LC is engaged in big conflicts over the controversial school policies which aroused skepticism toward the integrity of the board of trustees, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) is planning to visit the campus in the fall for further investigation.
One of the most debating issues that SACS is planning to observe is whether members of the trustee board have made unilateral decisions and hosted unauthorized business meetings as Nesom suggested in his resignation letter.
"We have received a number of statements from individuals, news clippings and documents forwarded to us," James T. Rogers, executive director of the SACS Commission on Colleges, said in The Town Talk. "Some questions have been raised, and we need to determine if what has been reported is factual."
On the other hand, Hudson, the new trustee chairman, downgraded the significance of such an investigation. "That's not the end of the world," he said. "That's not an uncommon occurrence that SACS will visit a college from time to time to ask questions. They say, 'Here's what you need to do,' and the college complies."
In September, new committee chairs will be selected and Hudson will remain chairman for at least a year, until 2005.