April 10, 2013
On Wednesday, April 3, 2013 Mr. Don Sailer, who is the grandson of Paul Patz, submitted a comment to my blog for posting. The comment I refer to, however, was one that I felt needed a wide reading. Mr. Sailer’s statement is a powerful commentary on the direction of where NIU is going, essentially has gone. You may view Don’s original commentary here under the article, Dr. Matt Olson, “I Apologize to You for…” What?
Of all the pro-NIU (for its changes) persons I have interacted with from NIU’s campus and outside Don Sailer has been the most honest, which is why I posted his statement. Don’s comment highlights almost exactly what I have been saying and documenting for several years. I want to thank Mr. Sailer for being the first to recognize and acknowledge the changes at NIU. Today people are paying attention.
Sharper Iron (SI) has run interference for and ignored the issues at NIU through the liberal media tactic of censorship by omission. Instead of doing the research to either debunk or verify the issues SI instead stifled reporting and made claims such as: There are no credible sources. With Don Sailer’s entrance into the discussion SI was compelled to open up for discussion over what has been the obvious and widely known changes about NIU in areas of music and behaviors of its administration, primarily Matt Olson, in direct contravention of NIU’s published and in force Articles of Faith and Handbooks. With Don Sailer a revelation of facts from NIU have come forth that I strongly suspect many of the SI leadership are very unhappy about having essentially been forced to disclose and allow for discussion.
In recent days I have been talking to several persons with intimate knowledge of NIU’s history and leadership. From that I have prepared a short historical perspective. The Patz family was rather isolated in Northern WI. “Pappa” Patz and sons all served in local churches. Harold Patz was the appointed family member to watch the family store on the NIU campus. Harold served as CFO. Harold was a graduate of Grand Rapids School of Bible and Music (not a bastion of fundamentalism). When Les Ollila came to Northland in 1982, he had recently worked with Life Action (again, not a fundamentalist bastion). Les pulled back into his BJU roots very soon after coming to NBBC and brought Harold along with him. I am fairly confident that there have been Patz family members who have been uncomfortable with separatist fundamentalism for a long time. The Patz family is still the family with stake to the NIU board. NBBC was not founded with as clear a pedigree as some may have thought. The perception of clear separation came under Les Ollila. Les came after the school had been going for a few years. Another item of significance is this - the kids (Patz, Ollila, Olson) have not graduated from NBBC and waved the fundamentalist flags. So, there is pressure for Matt Olson to drift with his kids and he is succumbing to the pressure.
Don Sailer is among those saying, so what, this is NIU’s plan and we are glad! Don is the closest to the inner circle of Patz family members to speak so clearly and succinctly. This ‘confession’ has the feel of a last chapter moment. If I was looking to wrap things up on NIU, and all I needed was a good ending, Don may have provided it. In some small way what I posted here for Don has gone viral in our narrow band of the blogosphere. Don’s commentary represents the whole. Don is like a final character that knows all the other characters, and in their absence/silence essentially speaks for all. Don is like a final classic chess move, where the clever chess master utilizes his most unlikely chess piece to end the game and secure the match. For over three years many people were ignoring, in disbelief or angered by my reporting on the changes at NIU.
I would like to recognize Don for being the first to recognize the change. I would theorize that the Patz family has talked about it and he is merely telling the public what the Patz family has said privately. The fact that he would speak for Les Ollila and Matt Olson and Harold makes me wonder if allowed to be publicly printed, would they have to respond? I believe Don is a person with direct knowledge of family matters and this speaks authoritatively. The grandchildren of the Patz family are all in their early forties to mid thirties. Don is a cousin to all and they all lived in same vicinity and they are all family people thus giving him ample time to discuss and process his conclusions. I think it is fair to say that all these grandchildren are exactly where he claims.
Don’s openness, first posting here at IDOTG, may have ultimately been the final straw that breaks the camel’s back. There have been significant resignations and forced departures from NIU already, but before the fall 2013 semester I foresee wholesale resignations and defections occurring. I foresee freshmen, sophomores and GA’s transferring, while most juniors and seniors endure to complete their degree. None of which makes me in the least happy to report.