An Open Letter to IWU

Dear Dr. Smith and Board of Directors:

Admittedly, I am not a spokesperson for Indiana Wesleyan University. In adulthood, I have found myself drifting further and further away from the ideals that IWU considers to be essential, and beg of you to consider my remarks with the requisite grain of salt.

The university's recent decision to include a personality such as Kirk Cameron in their niche hall of fame is both egregious and embarrassing. It is not embarrassing only to me, a graduate, but should be to those in leadership allowing for such an unmerited and cognitively untested conferring upon Cameron.

With no judgement to his accomplishments as a teen heartthrob on GROWING PAINS, Cameron has since spiraled down into the abyss of irrational religion with the posture that he has taken professionally as an evangelical. His recent comments in the news cycle regarding homosexuality are enough to make me cringe. Regardless of where you find yourself on the liberal/conservative spectrum, Cameron came across as arrogant, old-fashioned, and the most contradictory, unloving.

This recent occurrence is just one of many blunders on Cameron, and Co. A quick stroll through the internet reveals a litany of irrational, non-intellectual responses from Cameron. With all do respect to Mr. Cameron, from what I can gather, he hasn't earned a blamed thing from Indiana Wesleyan University or ANY respectable academic institution. This cheapens my accomplishments in both undergraduate studies and more recently in my return to IWU's enrollment as a Transition To Teaching candidate.

Cameron's stance may be lauded by some of IWU's conservative and Wesleyan constituency, but for an organization so aggressive in private higher education, it is simply not representative of the base of alumni that so patiently open appeal letters from the University Advancement office on a monthly basis. Aside from this disconnect, it's just bad business. It reeks of incredulity. It smacks of ignorance beyond the evangelical bubble. A public endorsement of Rick Santorum would only top this in the realm of all possible poor public relation decisions.

I know many of my fellow alumni cannot risk the political backlash for speaking out against their alma mater, let alone their church, but since I am no longer part of either, I will.

I beg of you, Dr. Smith, and those board members who saw fit to confer this recognition upon Kirk Cameron, to reconsider and rescind your offer to honor this minor celebrity in lieu of someone who is actually deserving.

I ask of the university's leadership to consider the broadening of influence and foresee how this event ranks less as a commendation, and more as an insult to many of the IWU alumni, and do so with the deepest respect.


Eric Nentrup
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