Biola, talk about the layoffs and program closures

The administration’s failure to communicate sweeping changes across the university causes confusion and pain.

Hannah Larson, Editor-in-Chief

Dear Readers,

Private universities nationwide are struggling as low enrollment leads to faculty layoffs and shuttered schools. Colleges, including Biola, are simultaneously weathering economic difficulties and bracing for the enrollment cliff.

This semester, Biola consolidated majors, discontinued academic programs and dismissed faculty and staff members. Unfortunately, the university has not clearly communicated these sweeping changes with students.

When asked for comment, Executive Vice President Mike Pierce said in a statement to The Chimes, “It is not Biola University protocol to publicly share with all students changes within each school. Every individual school within Biola has jurisdiction to communicate to its students about changes within programs, staffing or faculty positions.”

Biola’s individual schools, however, are not islands operating totally independently of one another. The solution is for university leadership to deliver announcements, perhaps via chapel, as significant changes happen across campus.

Just as troubling as the lack of clear communication is the absence of lament.

Administrators made little effort to come alongside students and professors mourning Biola’s loss. As Biolans grieve the sudden departure of colleagues and mentors, the administration’s silence about their pain speaks volumes. While Pierce and Dr. Barry Corey lamented the layoffs in a faculty and staff meeting in December, their sorrow was not communicated to students.


Biola leadership has been silent to students in the face of tragedy in the past as well. In February 2020, an individual defaced posters of instrumental African American leaders in Horton Hall, marking at least one with a racial slur. Nine days later, the chief diversity officer and dean of community life sent out an email saying the posters had been vandalized but neglected to provide details of the incident, which occurred during Black History Month three years ago.

The administration is maintaining the same silence now. This goes beyond a lack of transparency — it is a refusal, once again, to acknowledge the wounded body of Christ on this campus. 

As always, our desire is to illuminate instead of incinerate — to shine light on changes impacting lives around the university while acknowledging the anguish these cuts have brought. It is The Chimes’ prayer that our Lord would comfort a hurting Biola community and guide university leaders as they shepherd the staff, faculty and student body through this season of loss.

A version of this Editor’s Note first appeared in print on Feb. 23, 2023 in The Chimes Magazine Vol. 2, Issue 3 edition.
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