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The Chimes

The Student News Site of Biola University

The Chimes

The Student News Site of Biola University

The Chimes

Does Barry Corey deserve the hype?

In light of a dramatically declining Biola student experience, students are wondering if Dr. Corey’s leadership is up for the challenge.
Does+Barry+Corey+deserve+the+hype%3F
Nathan Scott

As history has demonstrated time and time again, strong leadership is needed to weather intense storms, and when leadership fails to rise, societies tend to fall. As Biola continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, where is the strong leadership the school so desperately needs? More importantly, have we replaced the precision of leadership with a personality? In light of skyrocketing tuition, a missing-in-action Sutherland Auditorium, declining food quality, shuttering of the Cook School of Intercultural Studies, and a still dirt-lot’d Cinema and Media Arts building, why is Dr. Barry Corey’s (DBC) leadership still as hyped up as it is?

There is no doubt about the quality of Corey’s character. He is famous for his selfies with students, entertaining jingles at the annual tree lighting and playing ball on Metzger Lawn with students on a sunny day. Through brief interactions, he has never been anything other than cheerful, engaging and overall pleasant. How does he actually serve the student body? How is his leadership transforming the student experience? 

STUDENT EXPERIENCE VS. DONOR EXPERIENCE

As of now, it does not appear that he has affected the student experience positively, if at all. There have been incredible capital expenditures from the Lim Center, to the wholly remodeled Bardwell Hall, as well as his leadership launching Biola into the 2011 opening of Talbot East that began under his predecessor, Clyde Cook. All of these are great things that would elevate the standing of the school in the eyes of donors but do little to improve the student experience in the ways that many have hoped for. Students seemed equally puzzled by what he accomplished during his tenure, outside being a man of good character, to improve their experience at the school.

“[DBC] is a campus celebrity, that’s it. I don’t know about his character,” junior nursing major Jen Holden said.  

This lack of knowledge about his leadership explains the distrust of Biola students towards administration, with several commenting on the lack of public interface regarding decisions that have negatively impacted the student experience. 

“An important part of building a student community is having a figure to rally around and DBC is that symbol. He’s basically a mascot,” Joshua Grover, a junior music major, said.

LEADERSHIP QUALITY 

In the last few years alone, the Biola community has dealt with significant tuition hikes that have left students with difficult decisions as to whether they can continue to afford their Biola education, with an expected increase of 4.8% for this upcoming school year. Sutherland Auditorium underwent renovation and simply never reopened. Café Biola has been the subject of numerous complaints from students, with student-run social media accounts such as @ratemycaf on Instagram showing deplorable food quality issues, from bugs in the salad to undercooked meat. The Cook School of Intercultural Studies closed following a 10-year span of enrollment difficulties, forcing other departments to take on the responsibilities previously under the Cook umbrella.

Finally, where is the CMA building? Back in 2017, Biola announced its plans to build a new, state-of-the-art building for Biola’s award-winning film school, and as of Spring 2024, that building has yet to celebrate its groundbreaking. While they have announced their intention to host a “groundbreaking ceremony” next year, almost eight years after the plans initially debuted, there is still little legitimate construction underway to this date. 

While Corey might be a wonderful person, the better question to ask is, with the challenges that Biola has faced in recent years, is he the correct leader for the task? He can be judged on his leadership without any detriment to the quality of his character, and that is a needed skill to have. However, it is time for the Biola community to have a difficult conversation about the qualities they need in a friend, versus the president of a leading Christian university.

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About the Contributors
Kenny Cook
Kenny Cook, Staff Writer
Nathan Scott
Nathan Scott, Photo Editor
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S. C. Parsons
3 months ago

This is poorly researched and even worse written. Is Kenny Cook worth the hype? Based on this article, absolutely not.

James
3 months ago

I understand the difficulties that arise; however, I don’t think this is honoring to a man who has spent over 15 years shepherding and leading this Biola community effectively through unprecedented circumstances. It’s hard to make the above conclusions as a student when we do not know what is going on internally. We have no credibility.

S. C. Parsons
2 months ago

Bad article.

J. Gordon
2 months ago

As an alum and parent of two students, I am extraordinarily surprised by the lack of preparation and lack of vision in anticipating the decline in enrollment. All of higher education knew this famine was arriving and Biola appears not to have planned fiscally for its arrival. Morale among the staff/faculty is very low due to the constant threat of dismissal. And yet the number of vice presidents and provosts seem plentiful. Bureaucracies seldom shrink. It will require vision, courage, and fiscal planning. I pray Biola puts its fiscal house in order to remain faithful to its mission.