We, the undersigned, are students, alumni, parents, donors, current and former employees, and friends of Grove City College. Many of us have made significant investments of time, financial resources, and professional efforts into the College. We desire to see it continue to thrive, honoring the unique and distinctive heritage that we have come to love and that attracted us to the College in the first place. That is, we want to see Grove City College regain its position as an elite Christian liberal arts institution, one that offers a rigorous education from a distinctly conservative perspective and remains affordable to families of modest means.
Over the last several years, many of us began to note worrisome signs of mission drift and critical race theory (CRT) encroachment within the College. We made our concerns known privately to faculty and administrators at the school, but our concerns were met with lip service at best and, in most cases, silence. When we realized that a private approach would not yield results, we launched an open petition—one that 476 people signed—and made that petition public on November 10, 2021. A year has transpired since, and despite countless hours of discussion and a national conversation, it’s unclear what, if anything, has truly changed on campus.
From the very start, President McNulty’s administration has taken a combative stance against us, treating us as enemies recklessly attacking the College rather than as friends and stakeholders providing good-faith feedback. The administration deployed a deny, attack, and cover-up strategy. President McNulty’s formal response accused us of trafficking in “misimpressions, partial reports, hearsay, rumors, and other unreliable information,” characterized our public approach as running counter to Christian virtue, ludicrously called our petition an example of “cancel culture,” and falsely asserted that we had never approached the College privately about our concerns. We subsequently were dismayed to see the College leverage supposed stalwarts in the faculty and staff to further this misleading message in media outlets during the national controversy that followed.
In April 2022, the Board of Trustees fully vindicated our concerns when it intervened in the crisis, conducted a thorough investigation, and issued a detailed report that documented how CRT was making inroads into the College, that explained how this ideology diverges from the College’s convictions and heritage, and that ordered the administration to take remedial steps. In response, we publicly thanked the Board for its courage and intentionally held our peace for four months, giving the administration a fair opportunity to carry out the Board’s instructions.
By the beginning of the fall 2022 semester, it had become clear that the administration did not intend to carry out the Board’s directives faithfully. No one had been fired. It was announced that Cedric Lewis, the disbarred lawyer who co-taught the woke EDUC 290 course, would be promoted from part-time guest lecturer to full-time assistant professor after he publicly criticized the Board in various outlets. Warren Throckmorton also returned, reportedly undermining the College’s mission in front of students. Two architects of the CRT crisis—Collin Messer and Justin Jose—voluntary moved on to new jobs after receiving heroes’ sendoffs. Whereas the Board reasserted the College’s conservative principles and Biblical worldview, the admissions department doubled down by revising its advertising to lament polarization and to downplay the College’s convictions and commitments. Our group issued a follow-up statement on September 7, 2022, but received no reply.
Meanwhile, it has become clear that the administration’s failure has metastasized far beyond our initial concerns with ideological drift and CRT. This fall, the College lost its status as a national liberal arts institution, falling in the rankings to the tier of just another regional college—a significant downgrade that will erode the College’s reputation in the eyes of prospective students and faculty. In the last six years, from 2015 to 2021, the percentage of arts and sciences degrees awarded by the College has dropped from 57% to 35%, a nosedive none of the College’s competitors have experienced. At the same time, the cost to attend the College has increased faster than inflation, and enrollment figures have fallen—despite the administration’s attempt to salvage these figures with part-time, dual-enrollment high school students. What’s more, the administration has chosen to remain test-optional in admissions, even after the pandemic’s conclusion, a decision that imperils the College’s reputation for providing an academically rigorous education and threatens to erode its retention and graduation rates.
We care deeply about the College and its conservative heritage, its spiritual vitality and fidelity, and its academic quality. We want to see it flourish for decades to come. But we have exhausted all internal remedies and are now compelled to state as clearly as we can that we have lost confidence in the direction of the College under its current administration.
We have come to believe that the solution requires leadership change. At a minimum, President McNulty, as the chief executive of the College whose mismanagement has precipitated this drift and decline, needs to leave. Until then, we cannot recommend the College. We will not give up on the old Grove City; we want to see it restored. But this can only happen if we publicly acknowledge that the College, under its current leadership, has lost its way. And we hope that the Board will act, both to implement what it declared in April and to restore the College’s now-tarnished reputation. When the Board does so, we will be the first to sing the College’s praises once again.
'Staunch and true, there dwells within us,
All the spirit of thy life.
. . .
Praises from each son and daughter,
Pledges of love and honor,
Grove City still shall own.’
~ Grove City College Alma Mater