On Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012, a group of 27 faculty members met with four members of the Board of Trustees, including Chairman Earl Goode. The faculty had, earlier in the semester, drafted and co-signed a letter that asked the Board to consider making some changes in administration at the College, namely the end of incumbent William H. Crouch’s 21-year presidency. The four members of the Board invited those professors to speak with them that Thursday, then opened the meeting to any full-time faculty member who wished to join.
When Dr. Roger Ward, chair of the philosophy department, was asked to explain what had transpired, he stated: “A group of tenured faculty wrote and signed a letter to the Board of Trustees asking them to consider some changes at the college. The trustees responded to the letter with an invitation to meet with them and discuss our ideas. . . . Speaking for myself only, I was satisfied that the board took our presentation seriously and [gave] it full consideration. We are focused on the positive future of the college and doing what we can to make that a reality.”
This decision was not entered into lightly. Dean of Education Dr. Yolanda Carter stated that, “everyone, including the Board of Trustees, is working toward the greater good of the institution. The entire educational community should rest in this and know that there is a great love for Georgetown College. There is a heavy focus on serving students well, with care and integrity, and maintaining the quality of the Georgetown College experience.”
Chair of the English department Dr. Barbara Burch echoed this statement, saying, “Colleagues I respect consulted their hearts and reason and elected to express themselves to the Board. I did not fear repercussions for signing the letter; however, my heart and reason were not at ease with its exact message. Still, I welcomed the opportunity to meet with the board and think the faculty is united in wanting to do everything in its power to see the college stabilize and flourish.”
Social media has played a role in the movement as well, including a “Support the 27” Facebook page, an online petition and even a #supportthe27 Twitter hashtag. Students and alumni alike have voiced their support on such websites, some with coup-like status updates, others being more supportive of the future of the College as a whole.
Some have speculated that the actions of the 27 may be related to the eventual announcement of the president’s retirement, and while Dean of Students Todd Gambill said that it was a “reasonable conclusion to draw,” he could not speak for the president himself. He did say that “this has been a tough couple of weeks for [Crouch] on a lot of different levels,” and in the email Trustee Chairman Earl Goode sent to faculty, which was then forwarded to students, Goode stated, “This is a decision Bill and Jan have been contemplating for several months.”