There's big drama unfolding at an unlikely place: The General Theological Seminary, located in Chelsea. Eight professors were recently fired after they walked off the job to protest the dean, who has, they claim, "fostered an environment of secrecy and mistrust."

The Very. Rev. Kurt H. Dunkle was installed as the Episcopalian school's dean last year. However, the NY Times explains:

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.

The eight professors wrote a letter explaining what they witnessed:

Dean Dunkle’s public manner of expression seriously discomforts us and diminishes the reputation of the institution. Specifically, his references to women, non-white cultures, and the LGBT community are absolutely inimical to the commitments of our church. He once described Asian transit passengers in the San Francisco Bay area as “slanty-eyed.” In a large community meeting last spring, he compared the technical side of theological education to “looking up women’s skirts.” Before several faculty members and students, he spoke, as an obvious act of intimidation, of how “black people can do such interesting things with their hair,” a comment about which students complained. On several occasions he has stated that General Seminary should not be “the gay seminary.” And he frequently stresses that the institution should emphasize “normal people.” We have consistently communicated to him that such language undercuts our practices of hospitality and inclusion of those who are gay and lesbian, people of color, those who are differently-abled, or socially non-conformist. When we have brought these matters to his attention, he often denies having made the statements despite the existence of numerous witnesses, and he refuses to acknowledge the impact his actions have on others.

The Times notes, "[Dunkle] began micromanaging, keeping statistics, for example, on how often faculty members attended lunch, the professors said. Instead of feeling like a communal place of Christian living, 'suddenly it has felt progressively like I’m in junior high school, or maybe on a plantation,' said David J. Hurd, a black professor of church music who has been on the faculty since 1976."

The board considered the letter a resignation, while the protesting professors insist they did not resign: "Please note that by saying, 'we could no longer work with or for Kurt Dunkle'and 'if Dean Dunkle continued in his position we could no loner continue in ours' we were not offering our resignations. We were invoking a common labor practice at the advice of our attorney stating that we could not work under these conditions. We were simply communicating to the Board Trustees that our working environment had deteriorated so much that the Seminary was going to lose their faculty. It is impossible to teach Christian theology and serve the formation of priests and lay leaders in a workplace environment that is retaliatory and hostile, where we and our students are suffering intimidation."

The board offered to have a meeting with the professor. In the meantime, the school has had to postpone classes without teachers.