Pensif – university quick fall from glory…

I was bred to love BYU. I was told there was no place like it. I went to every football game as a child. Then I went to every football game as soon as I moved back to America. Then I went to college there. Everyone in my family went to college there and my dad worked there. I had a decent experience at BYU. Some times were hard there but I managed to get through and enjoy my time. I got married, had children…then BYU came calling again…

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My husband accepted a job at BYU. Whatever we felt about Utah and the Church, we were excited for BYU. I knew the cougar fight song before I knew most primary songs…so we were excited to be going back. We got here and everything seemed good. Then it started to get a little more stressful. Then we started to discover the downfall of a private university that is beholden to grumpy, self-righteous, old men. But still…the department my husband worked in was full of smart and fun people. Working with the students was fulfilling and collaborating with others was exciting (where BYU allowed it). So, he continued on until one morning he woke up and realized it just wasn’t what he wanted to do. He started making plans to move on…

It turned out to be a short timeline for his moving jobs. It turned out that way because when my husband was honest and upfront with BYU, informing them that he would be there for fall semester but not for winter semester they decided on Aug 29th to just not give him a new contract, essentially firing him on Aug 31st. His department went a little crazy since he was scheduled to teach a class only he could teach. His department head went to BYU admin and argued for him. He told them that they were planning to give him tenure and that they needed him for fall semester to teach and transition his graduate students. They begged BYU admin to at least give him a chance to decide to stay since he was going to get tenure. BYU replied, you can ask him but we probably won’t do it now that we know he might leave in the future…

The department head called my husband and said you have 10 minute to decide and if you stay I will go back in there and fight for you. At this moment my husband did not have a new job. He had planned to be at BYU for another semester. He had tried to be honest to help the department plan their year out and got burned. He could have kept quiet and just left whenever he wanted to leaving the department with a big problem come winter semester where he was scheduled to teach one of the biggest classes. We had 10 minutes to decide…

After this experience, my husband just told them no and just like that our insurance and paycheck were gone. That was a Friday. We cleaned out his office on Sat.

The ironic part is that the whole reason he did this was so that the department wouldn’t be left hanging. He wanted to make sure he finished off his research contracts with some companies. He wanted to make sure he helped his students move to a new lab. He wanted to make sure that the department had their teaching lined up correctly and he wanted to teach one more semester of this class (of which he had received some of the highest teacher/class ratings) as he was the only who could do it. But BYU admin thinks they are better than everyone. So instead they just pulled the plug. No sweat of their back…just ruined the schedules of every student that was suppose to start school on Mon, left his two grad student’s life and education just hanging. Broke signed contracts that BYU “signed” with companies since my husband was the only one who could complete them. Left the department in chaos with all these problem to fix. My husband couldn’t even help since he was no longer and “employee.” And, of course, they left us without a job and without insurance…
And the department got left “hanging”….

BYU admin had no consideration for anyone but themselves. They were unwilling to even think about what they did. I am sure the semester went fine and BYU thinks nothing happened and good riddance…but that isn’t true. It was a HUGE mess…it is just that BYU admin didn’t have to do any of it so why care?

And that is how my love affair with my university ended. I didn’t think anything would ever convince me to hate BYU. I LOVED that place. My whole life, I thought even if I didn’t get to attend BYU, even if my family left the Mormon church I would still love BYU. It would always be my favorite place in the whole world. Well..it turns out I was wrong. I understand that BYU is a business but I guess I just felt if there was one place in the world where being honest would be appreciated it would be there. Wrong…you might as well be working for GoldmanSachs or Merrill Lynch because just like them, BYU only cares about itself…

PS – my husband’s new job is way better…

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2 thoughts on “Pensif – university quick fall from glory…

  1. John Marriott

    Sorry to hear this, but so glad you’ve landed on your feet. It’s hard to hear one thing from the pulpit and experience something entirely different the next day. I don’t buy the “it’s a business” excuse. This was obviously a very poor business decision, one that affected many lives beyond the employee targeted.

    On the other hand, it confirms my belief that, at bottom, we’re all a lot alike, regardless of our religious affiliation. Christian teachings don’t seem to be more potent in guiding everyday life than many other influences or beliefs. And, non-democratic, authoritarian institutions are more prone to act autocratically than those governed by more publicly accountable bodies, which should not be surprising but is when it’s your own church.

    I enjoy your writing and appreciate your sharing this difficult chapter in your life so publicly.

    1. mprince Post author

      Thank you John…fortunately, very few people read this so it isn’t too public 🙂 I totally agree with you on religion (and on BYU’s decision being a mistake). As most people who approach their religion in a thoughtful and intellectual way know, religion/Christianity is “full of holes.” Even the Mormons, who claim an authority on “truth,” it turns out don’t have any extra truth, the history is fraught with unethical and illegal behavior and the Church currently is a terrible vessel for dispensing “truth.” I too believe this is because the concentration is not on the person/memeber but rather it the institution.

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