Diamond Editor and Dordt community,
I want to take this opportunity to write a short note explaining some of my reasons for sharing my observations about the “Lief Affair” to the degree I did. I haven’t been motivated by a desire to air dirty laundry in public, much less subject these events to the court of public opinion. My motivations arise in response to comments that question Jason’s actions in response to events. I find that those who question his actions in this way have little knowledge of what transpired.
Speaking of and for myself, the entire series of events was deeply wounding. Other faculty are also deeply wounded (though I do not speak for them). This has been the most difficult year for me to work at Dordt College in 20 years. Those who dismiss Jason also dismiss me and those faculty who share my feelings.
There is little to be proud of, and much to be ashamed of with respect to what took place. I include my own actions in this assessment, and not just the actions of others. Too often I acted – or failed to act – out of fear and self-protection. We, both as an institution and as those immediately party to these events, remain far from the point where confession, forgiveness, and reconciliation are complete. I’m not sure it’s seriously begun. Sometimes I despair that it will begin.
I have not, and will not, report the actions and words that have so deeply wounded me. They need not be shared with the public. Your readers do not need to know everything, but they do need to know enough to recognize that Jason first and foremost, and others of us collaterally, remain deeply wounded. This affair cannot be treated as though it is concluded. If not for Jason’s sake, then at least for the sake of the faculty appropriate discussions must continue. To think otherwise is simply to misunderstand. Few seem to comprehend the significance of Jason’s absence for some of us.
That is among the most painful of the realities for me. So maybe a starting point is to make good faith efforts to explain and to understand the nature and reasons for the wounds many continue to suffer.