The General Theological Seminary in Manhattan, the nation’s oldest Episcopal seminary, seemed to be regaining its footing after almost having to seek bankruptcy protection in 2010. It sold off some valuable real estate ”” its leafy campus in Chelsea is just steps from the High Line ”” and hired a new dean and president, the Rev. Kurt H. Dunkle, who promised to make the struggling institution a “joyful, thankful and useful” place.
A year after his arrival, however, the seminary has fallen into turmoil. Eight of its 10 full-time faculty members walked off the job on Friday to protest what they described in letters to the school’s board of trustees as Mr. Dunkle’s overly controlling management style, his habit of making vulgar and offensive remarks, and his frequent threats to demote or fire those who disagreed with him.
The work stoppage, faculty members said, was intended to force a dialogue with the board and, ideally, to lead to the firing of Mr. Dunkle. Instead, the tactic backfired. On Monday, the board dismissed the eight faculty members, leaving the seminary’s roughly 140 students, a month into their term, without professors to teach them.