A Christian college embroiled in a controversy over a "clarification" made to its statement of faith about Adam and Eve will lay off 20 of its 173 employees.
Steven Livesay, the president of Bryan College of Dayton, Tennessee, announced the decision in an email to faculty and staff on Friday, blaming the school's low enrollment on budget cuts.
According to the Times Free Press, 2014 was Bryan's largest graduating class, while 2012 and 2013 enrolled record low numbers of students, meaning that projected enrollment for the fall had declined by roughly 100 students.
The school has more than 1,700 students enrolled in residential, online and graduate programs.
Livesay noted the decline is occurring, in part, to the fact that colleges are increasingly competing for a smaller number of high school students.
"Higher education, in general, is facing challenges, including the national decline in high school graduates, more families who are unable to pay for their children to attend college, and a decrease in the amount of government aid," he stated in a press release provided to The Christian Post.
Livesay and other school administrators will also take cuts to their own salaries, and the college will no longer contribute to staff retirements. Similarly, the executive cabinet will be among the offices with decreased positions.
"The most difficult step was strategically considering how best to consolidate work. That meant, unfortunately, that we had to eliminate positions in our workforce. The combined effect of these four strategies allows us to keep a Bryan education affordable for our students," Livesay added.
The Times Free Press reported earlier this month that nine of the college's professors will not be returning in the fall, in what amounts to nearly 20 percent of its faculty. Those resignations and firings are the result of a controversy over the school's recent "clarification" to its statement of faith, which requires professors to affirm a belief in a literal Adam and Eve.
It is unclear whether those positions will be filled, though the press release stated that "the reductions affect every department and includes layoffs and not filling some vacancies."
"Each person whose position is eliminated will receive the opportunity for additional education at Bryan and tuition assistance for accepted and enrolled dependents," it added.
Last month, professor of natural science Stephen Barnett, and professor of education and chair of the education department Steven DeGeorge, filed a lawsuit against Bryan asking that their positions be restored and that the recent "clarification" of the school's statement of faith be declared void.
The Bryan College charter bans attempts to modify the statement, which in its original form does not mention Adam and Eve.
The nearly 100-year-old charter's language about the origin of man states that the school believes it was "by fiat of God in the act of creation as related in the book of Genesis; that he was created in the image of God; that he sinned and thereby incurred physical and spiritual death."
According to Marvin Olasky, the editor-in-chief of the conservative Christian WORLD magazine, "The key debate here concerns the historicity of Adam, created — according to Chapter 2 of Genesis — by God's special formative act."
"Bryan's situation is not unique: Professors at many Christian colleges, often influenced by the BioLogos Foundation, contend that God worked through evolution to produce Adam. Some say there were many Adams, others suggest that God made a spiritual change in one hominid from among a herd, and other theistic evolutionists propose additional theories," he explained last month.