Kenya violence affecting Wayland Baptist University

Release Date: January 3, 2008

LIMURU, KENYA – The violent political outburst in Kenya is affecting the Wayland Baptist University campus near Nairobi. Although classes are not currently meeting, many Wayland students have been directly affected by the violence that has erupted between warring tribes.

The state of unrest broke out after president Kibaki of the Kikuyu tribe was reelected. An opposing tribe has killed many Kikuyu tribe members including a group that sought shelter in a church. Many of Wayland’s students are members of the Kikuyu tribe and have had family members killed in the violence. Wayland’s campus, in conjunction with the Kenya Baptist Theological College, is about 24 kilometers from Nairobi where the worst violence has taken place.

Fortunately, no classes are scheduled at the campus at this time. However, classes are scheduled to resume on Jan. 14. Dr. Don Ashley, associate professor of religion at Wayland’s campus in Anchorage, is currently in Kenya with his family. He made the trip prior to Christmas and is scheduled to teach a course beginning in January. Dr. Ashley has been in contact with Dr. Rick Shaw, dean of the Kenya campus, who is in Plainview. Dr. Shaw said Ashley and his family are currently in no danger and will keep an eye on the situation. If things get too dangerous, they will come home and classes at the Kenya campus will be postponed.

Shaw, who was hired in November, to take over the Kenya project and serve as director of the Wayland Missions Center, is scheduled to leave for Kenya on Jan. 11.

“I really don’t know what I’m going to do,” Shaw said. “I will watch it probably until Monday or Tuesday then I’ll make a decision.”

According to Ashley, the biggest issue currently is getting supplies. They are running low of food and other necessities. Fuel is also at a premium making transportation to and from the campus difficult for students. For now, administrators will watch the situation and wait until next week to determine whether or not to postpone classes.