The public learned about a month ago that Cedarville University, a fundamentalist Christian school near Dayton, Ohio, had hired an alleged sexual predator. That man, Anthony Moore, had been fired from his previous job, at a church, after it was discovered that he had secretly taped another male youth pastor in the shower at his home. Multiple times. (No charges were pressed.)
The president of the school apparently knew all this. But the students and faculty members were never told those details. There were thankfully no similar incidents at the school, but it raised concerns about how everyone could be expected to protect themselves and each other if they were shielded from Moore’s background.
Since that story broke, more students have been speaking out about the problems at Cedarville. Journalist Julie Roys just published a letter from a former student, Alisha, who says her treatment at Cedarville was disturbing in a very different way.
Alisha writes that she was going through a very difficult time her junior year — she drank a lot, was drugged during a birthday trip, and struggled with depression. It got to the point where she thought about ending her own life.
That obviously interfered with her schoolwork. But any decent school would understand the situation and give her the space and time she needs to take care of herself. Instead, despite having doctors’ notes explaining why she had been admitted into the hospital, one Cedarville professor wasn’t having it:
… I remember being pulled aside by a professor I knew on a deeply personal level and being told, “It was a stupid decision to go to the ER for being suicidal”… I was informed I could not make up the exam, even though I had documentation on being in the ER.
She says the school didn’t help her in other ways, either:
During my time at CU, I had reached out to their counseling services multiple times and was either never responded to, or told my application was never received. They were no help.
She eventually got the help she needed, enrolled at a local community college, and “felt more supported than [she] did [her] 4 years at CU.” She’s currently working on completing her nursing degree. Good for her. I wish her all the best.
I write this to say that CU does not care for their students. They care about their image. They do not care about the inner thoughts and feelings no matter who you are. My dad still works at CU, and encouraged me to finally speak my truth. My time at Cedarville was filled with hurt, and it saddens me that there are so many similar stories to mine. I pray for each of these people who have experienced anything remotely close to what I have and I pray they can heal.
Obviously, one student’s grievances don’t necessarily represent the feelings of everyone on campus. But Alisha’s story adds to a growing body of evidence that Cedarville really is more concerned about its image than doing what’s best for the students on campus. They want to hide anything that may reflect poorly upon them, even if that results in more problems. Anything to keep the school looking good to the outside.
There will inevitably be students who say they had a fine experience at the school. In which case, they should answer these questions: How many of these stories will it take before they recognize that the school was a darker place than they imagined? How many stories will it take before they vow never to donate any money to the school, or recommend it to potential students, or speak in glowing terms about it to strangers?
(Image via Shutterstock)