CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Board of Trustees has placed President F. King Alexander on probation until June 1 following a public meeting in which students and faculty shared harsh criticisms of Alexander and the board.
This is all fallout from the alleged sexual misconduct of former Louisiana State University football coach Les Miles during Alexander’s time as president there. Miles worked for Alexander until the coach was fired in 2016.
Dear Members of the OSU Community, I share this message providing my commitment to evaluate and improve Title IX...
A public hearing was held this afternoon, and some of the comments were brutal. Person after person called into the Zoom meeting and demanded Alexander’s resignation. They said if he doesn’t quit, the university should fire him immediately.
Attendees also attacked the board for hiring King in what they called a secretive process. The candidates for president were kept anonymous. The university said that decision was not made to hide the allegations.
Board Chair Rani Borkar said during their research they found no evidence of wrongdoing by Alexander. But the people who commented said they found that hard to believe.
Following a private discussion by the board over how to proceed, the decision came down to place Alexander on probation. An outside consultant will be brought in to fill in gaps in the board's information.
Late Wednesday night, the Board released the following statement:
"Members of the OSU Community,
"The Oregon State University Board of Trustees met today to review the Husch Blackwell report issued on behalf of the Board of Supervisors of Louisiana State University and discuss with President Alexander his leadership over Title IX at LSU and subsequent information that has been shared about Title IX and the handling of sexual violence and misconduct at LSU.
"As a Board, we unequivocally condemn sexual violence and misconduct. We stand with and support survivors of all forms of sexual violence and affirm the work of advocates.
"Today, the Board heard extensive public comments; reviewed written communications from members of the public; held a public discussion with President Alexander; met in executive session in accordance with Oregon law to discuss personnel matters; and held discussion in public session to consider next steps.
"As a result of this process, the Board voted 12-2 to place President Alexander on probation through June 1, 2021, during which time the Board will conduct an evaluation to gather feedback from the OSU community to help inform his success.
"The Board also will require that the Trustees’ Executive and Audit Committee contract with an independent outside consultant to evaluate information from the Husch Blackwell report and follow-up on any outstanding questions from trustees. The consultant’s report will be provided to the public.
"President Alexander will be required to review the recommendations of the Husch Blackwell report relevant to OSU policies and practices and provide the Board with a report by June 1 that assesses and seeks to improve any OSU policies, procedures and funding needs for Title IX reporting and survivor support services.
"President Alexander also will provide to the Board by June 1 a concrete plan to rebuild trust and relationships with the university community.
"The Board recognizes that the discussions and media reports since the Husch Blackwell report was issued have resurfaced painful, traumatic memories for survivors of sexual violence and their advocates. Further, we understand the profound impact these troubling circumstances are having on all members of the university community and on Oregon State University as an institution.
"We heard today from survivors and advocates about the need for survivor-centered, trauma-informed processes and resources. We heard the importance of offering students, staff and faculty robust resources, including both reporting options and confidential support and resources. This input will guide the university’s response.
"As well, we heard from students, staff and faculty concerns about a lack of trust in the Board. We acknowledge the need to rebuild OSU community confidence in our leadership as OSU’s governing body.
"Oregon State University’s mission and values never waver. We are grateful to the University’s talented and resourceful students, faculty, and staff for their resilience and accomplishments, and their contributions to OSU’s success."
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