Letters to the editor: Responses to last issue’s “Addressing Institutional Sexism”

These are responses written in response of the Institutional Sexism article published in Volume 81:5.

To whom it may concern,

Thank you for taking time to read this. I am a consistent reader of The Standard, and do enjoy the fact that we have a school paper where people are able to present their ideas and opinions. However, several stories over the past year or two have gotten me worried, and now I feel this is the breaking point. I did not want to write this out of a knee-jerk reactionary state, but with a cool head, and after having done some fact checking.

In the latest issue of The Moody Standard there was an article entitled, “Addressing Institutional Sexism.” First, I am sad this article was even allowed to be published, as it was written by a former student who is now a proclaiming to be an “agent of Satan” on her social media profile, regardless of whether this is meant to be satirical or not. Secondly, the tone of this article was disrespectful, and perhaps even vindictive, as it pointed the proverbial finger, and tries to throw mud on an institute that the author seems to resent. Thirdly, if so little fact checking could be done on these accusations to prove whether they were true or not, why were they published in the first place, other than to create a “hot gossip” section in the papers? It saddens me to hear other students say around campus, “I wonder what controversial thing they are going to pick at this month.” Finally, especially because we are at a university occupied by the body of Christ, I would expect this article to contain some sort of constructive thinking, suggesting methods in which we at Moody, as a body of Christ, can remedy this problem.

Again, I thank you for all of the work that you and your team put in to publishing The Moody Standard, and hope that you have a wonderful rest of the semester.

Zachary Stafford

Editors note:
Just to clarify, when titling Paris Akins as “researcher” for “Addressing Institutional Sexism,” what we meant was that she contributed the majority of primary quotes. However, all actual writing was done by Levi Homstad, a current student at Moody Bible Institute. We are sorry for the confusion that occured.

I appreciated the Op-Ed on institutional sexism in this week’s Standard, but I wanted to share my view on the testimonial about Dr. Barbieri as his granddaughter.

I am a senior Bible Secondary Education major, one of two women in my year, so I identify with the women in this article who have felt intimidated and outnumbered in their major. However, one of the reasons I felt secure enough to pursue my major was the support of my grandfather. Thanks to his encouragement, I’m planning to complete a Master of Divinity or similar program at a seminary after I graduate. He’s even encouraged me to become the next “Dr. Barbieri” and eventually pursue a doctorate.

My grandfather is passionate about equipping qualified and well-trained people for all areas of ministry, regardless of gender. His primary concern is for the well-being of his students and what will best prepare them for where God is leading them. I believe that our Moody professors are godly people who want each of us, regardless of gender, to follow what God has for our lives, whether that leads us into further education or not. I do believe that institutional sexism happens, and even happens at Moody, but in some instances, like the instance involving Dr. Barbieri, it may occur because of a misunderstanding of intentions, not a desire to harm. I know my grandfather would not discourage anyone who truly had a passion for studying theology; he wants to encourage his students in what he sees they are passionate, theology or otherwise.

Thank you for your time,
Jenna Barbieri

Dear Moody Standard,

Thank you for bringing to light the issue of sexism on campus! Your article, “Addressing Institutional Sexism,” is challenging and courageous. You have encouraged me to be more sensitive to the self-consciousness that women feel within our student body. I appreciated, too, the journalistic integrity in your writing and the professional grace offered toward Dr. Barbieri and Dean Arens. Their sides were heard fairly so that we were free not to assume guilt or ill intent. I hope your work will help MBI become more welcoming and encouraging for students of all backgrounds, experiences and gifts from Christ, and more celebratory of the incredible role female students play in Christ’s kingdom.

Eric C. Redmond
Assistant professor of Bible


I just want to express appreciation for the article on the problem of sexism in the last issue of The Moody Standard. I am disappointed that this seems to be a controversial move; I wanted to see nothing but positive reactions from a community of Christ followers.

I’m a new student at Moody and have not felt personally stigmatized since I’ve been here, but I’ve heard too many sexist jokes and comments from former and current Moody students and have blown them off. I even began to make a few myself. The women here are becoming desensitized to this really harmful mindset, or at least we’re diminishing it to a minor annoyance instead of the real problem that it is — a true hindrance to a better community and a more effective body.

I’d love to see this dialogue continue. Can I request that another article be published with the responses to the original article?

Thank you for letting our voices be heard.
In Him,
Alyssa Straessle

In light of the recent article published on sexism here at Moody, I felt compelled to respond beyond the conversations taking place in my floor lounge. As a new student here on campus, I was taken aback by the article’s claims that Moody’s traditions and subculture repress women. I do not question the existence of sexism here, but how do you expect to have a fresh start in this area and say, “Let’s have a conversation and do something about this” when the issue at hand is introduced in such an accusatory manner? What was the point of this? How was bringing up names and sharing anonymous stories helping the discussion and actually helping women?

Some may claim that the discussion needed to be brought to light in this manner because girls on campus are afraid to talk about sexism or don’t believe their voices would be heard. I can see how the point of the article was to start a conversation, but was this really the best way? For new female students at Moody, reading this article leaves us without the full context. Taking a legitimate story of abuse and using it for shock value is not honoring to anyone in the story, nor is it appropriate; there is a correct way to talk about abuse, and it does not involve bullet points. The perspective this article has given women is one of victim, and that’s not where I believe we should start this discussion. Sexism goes both ways. The intentions may have been good, but I don’t believe the platform was a solid one. I’m up for the conversation, with men and women, but I think it should include every side of the story and be done in a dignified manner.

Janae Horst


Last week I read this article and I was frankly appalled. I do understand that this should be a topic addressed, but the format that it was presented in was not edifying to the body of Christ whatsoever. I do not understand why The Standard felt the need to cast a negative light onto these certain faculty members? And more so, this was done by anonymous graduates; why do they get to keep the seal of anonymous protection? There were a few instances where this happened on the campus (which is understandable that this would happen from time to time because we are being continually sanctified by Christ and there is sin present as long as we are living on Earth) but it blew those specific instances out of proportion without taking into consideration the sanctifying work that is taking place. I have other reasons why this article was not handled correctly, and if you would like to hear my reasoning, I would be more than happy to meet in person.

Holly Geneva

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    1 Comment

    1. Jenna Pirrie

      November 30, 2015

      To Zachary Stafford:

      It should be noted that the only reason Paris jokes about being an “agent of Satan” is because a recent student (of Moody!) called us both that for disagreeing with him on an issue. It was appalling to see him resort to name calling in that argument, and making light of it was a much better option than being offended by him.

      We should probably be more concerned that a Moody graduate thinks “You are an agent of Satan” is a proper way to say “I disagree with you on this issue” than about a former student making light of that very odd accusation.


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