Magazine article The Christian Century

Alabama College Struggles with Ties to Accused Arsonists

Magazine article The Christian Century

Alabama College Struggles with Ties to Accused Arsonists

Article excerpt

Birmingham-Southern College has long prided itself on the actions of students who have gone all over the world--and as far away as Mother Teresa's mission in Calcutta--to-perform good deeds as part of the college's social-service emphasis.

Now the United Methodist--related school in Alabama is dealing with the aftermath of an episode in which students have been accused of burning churches. "I can't imagine that there won't be a discussion of its implications, and self-reflection," said college president David Pollick.

Federal agents ended an exhaustive investigation into arsons at nine Baptist churches in Alabama by arresting two Birmingham-Southern students and a University of Alabama--Birmingham student who had transferred from BSC.

Ben Moseley, 19, and Russell DeBusk, 19, were arrested at BSC early on March 8. UAB student Matthew Cloyd, 20, was arrested at his apartment later that day.

Pollick said March 9 that the college has pledged to help the burned churches rebuild, but not because the college feels responsible for the actions of its students. "There's nothing to repent," Pollick said. "We're clearly in the limelight because they are our students."

Pollick said his staff will be contacting each of the churches to determine whether "they want help--money or physical assistance. …

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