I/we hate to be in this position because it should not be. It is a result of injustice happening in our society and in Christian higher education over and over again. It's 2023, not 1955. Many, not all, evangelical institutions are choosing politics and repeating bad history when it comes to race to rake in money. Julie Moore is a friend of ours, has always been upstanding and truthful, and we support her. We ask for your support so she and her family can survive this. She is a single mother who is caring for herself and an adult child with disabilities. As she shares below, she is in a precarious financial position because of injustices committed against her by a Christian institution. And it probably won't stop with her. Please share far and wide and donate whatever you can to help her. Read her story below.
With love and seeking shalom,
-Karen Swallow Prior
-Liz Boltz Ranfeld
On January 27, Taylor University notified Associate Professor Julie L. Moore that her contract would be non-renewed, citing Taylor’s concerns related to the fact that her thematic College Composition course asks students to engage in reading and writing assignments about racial justice.
Today, Julie faces legal fees, lost income, a daunting job search, and the stress of losing her community and career.
● Julie has taught composition with themes of racial justice for 30+ years at Wilberforce University, our nation’s oldest, private, liberal arts HBCU, and two other Christian Universities. She has a history of positive reviews and promotions.
● Historically, Taylor University embraced open, civil discourse on all topics. The university is home to an Office of Intercultural Programs and Black Student Union. Past Taylor guest speakers include Austin Channing Brown, Willie James Jennings, Miroslav Volf, Rachel Held Evans, and Soong-Chan Rah.
● 2017: Julie went through a rigorous interview process, during which she clearly explained how she taught composition as a thematic class focusing on racial justice. She was hired into the non-tenure-track position as an Assoc. Prof. of English and Writing Center Director.
● 2021: Julie underwent her first performance review, which yielded a unanimous department vote, complete with support letters from her chairperson, Dean, and interim Provost, to renew her contract. She was lauded for her “well-articulated scriptural grounding for all she does in her job” and for her course’s theme about racial justice, which acts as a “springboard to help students develop writing skills and critical thinking.” Per the protocol stipulated in writing by the previous Dean, Julie was told that another review would not have to take place for 7 years.
● Additionally, Julie included the university’s Multicultural Philosophy Statement in her syllabus. All faculty must sign in agreement with this statement to be employed at Taylor. It reads, in part: “We aspire to be a welcoming place where we show respect and love for all people. We want to honor one another and celebrate our diverse ethnic, racial, cultural, socio-economic, and national backgrounds in all dimensions of our life together. Through our relationships and programs, we actively strive to increase multicultural diversity in our community.”
● 2021 & 2022: Julie further developed her racial justice-themed course with two summer grants awarded to her by Taylor’s Bedi Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (BCTLE).
Meeting on January 27, 2023
On Jan. 27, the new provost of Taylor University, Jewerl Maxwell, called Julie into an unexpected meeting and informed her of the following:
● He would not renew her contract, citing her course syllabus.
● He explicitly stated that he was doing so because Julie’s course did not “balance” assigned readings authored by multicultural writers with other, non-specified texts published by right-wing think tanks like the Heritage Foundation.
● He did not say anything about keeping the contents of the meeting confidential.
After the Meeting
Stunned and heartbroken, Julie sought advice from her department chair and AEC Director, both of whom told her that Maxwell had not consulted with them about this decision; past and present members of the faculty council; and veteran faculty.
On February 2, she received an email from Maxwell, chastising her for speaking to others about the decision not to renew her contract and claiming that he’d mandated she keep the contents of the Jan. 27 meeting confidential.
Maxwell informed Julie she should hire an attorney. The next two months were spent in legal negotiations resulting in an unsatisfactory outcome.
After seeking much spiritual and legal counsel and spending much time in prayer, Julie has decided to go public with her story now because her situation raises these important questions:
● Why did Jewerl Maxwell terminate the employment of a valued professor against the wishes of her colleagues and without discussion with her chair and AEC Director?
● Why does the university have a Multicultural Philosophy Statement and Office of Intercultural Programs when a professor like Julie, whose course espouses the value of both, is penalized for doing so?
● Do Taylor faculty have academic freedom or will other faculty lose their jobs, too, if they don’t include the Heritage Foundation’s views opposing multiculturalism in their curricula?
● Why did the university insist that this information was to be kept quiet?
● Does Taylor’s apparent opposition to education about racial justice affect their present students and future graduates who will need to work in private and public sectors that mandate policies about diversity, equity, and inclusion?
● Most of all, is Taylor safe for BIPOC and international students, faculty, and staff when professors are terminated for teaching about linguistic and racial justice?
Again, Julie has sought legal counsel, but the costs of pursuing legal action are significant. In addition to supporting herself, Julie also has a daughter who is dependent upon her.
There are many more painful layers to this story. These layers illustrate the important reason that Julie has been doing this work for three decades: the reality of racial injustice in this country and the harm it does to BIPOC bodies, minds, and opportunities. Julie is grateful for the prayers and support of so many, including her multi-ethnic church and her colleagues across the country.
All the money donated to this campaign will go directly to Julie to help her pay for living expenses, bills, the cost of future litigation, and other needs. Please donate to help Julie Moore recover from the adverse actions she has been subjected to by Taylor University.
*Access Jemar Tisby's interview with Julie. Moore here: https://jemartisby.substack.com/p/shaken-and-heartsick-another-professor
Here it is on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5C-xaaFm2kk
Fundraising team (4)
Raised $7,010 from 63 donations
Julie L. Moore
Karen Swallow Prior
Raised $3,090 from 53 donations
This team raised $15,291 from 210 other donations.