Eight faculty members at the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church went on strike last week, citing concerns about the seminary’s dean and president of one year, the Very Rev. Kurt H. Dunkle.
“These are times of great reform in centers of theological education,” reads a letter sent to students from the eight professors, who make up the majority of the seminary’s full-time faculty. “In such times, it is all the more important that we treat one another with civility and respect, and that we work flexibly and collaboratively. … It is our view that that the president has repeatedly shown that he is unable to articulate sensitively and theologically the issues that are essential to the thriving of the Body of Christ in its great diversity. Moreover his failure to collaborate, or to respond to our concerns when articulated, has resulted in a climate that many of us find to be fraught with conflict, fear, and anxiety. Unfortunately, it is the most vulnerable members of our community who most keenly suffer the distress caused by this environment.”
Dunkle did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Several striking faculty members also did not respond to requests for more information about the strike, or their employment status; on Tuesday, David J. Dunn, an Eastern Orthodox theologian who is not affiliated with the seminary but who says he has contacts there published an op-ed in The Huffington Post criticizing the college for allegedly firing the striking professors. That could not immediately be independently confirmed.