Oregon State University president F. King Alexander resigns
After less than a year on the job, Oregon State University President F. King Alexander has announced plans to resign from the top slot at the state school serving 33,000 students.
The resignation, which will be effective April 1, comes after a damning review of sexual misconduct allegations of a superstar coach at Louisiana State University, where Alexander had previously served as president.
The OSU Board of Trustees accepted Alexander's resignation after a closed-door meeting on March 23, according to a statement from board chair Rani Borkar.
Borkar said Alexander "no longer had the confidence of the OSU community," citing a vote by the Faculty Senate and an outpouring of input from students, staff, professors and alumni.
"When the Board of Trustees adjourned last week, we believed it was possible for President Alexander to repair the broken confidence and trust in his ability to lead OSU," Borkar said in a statement. "After listening to and hearing important input from diverse members of our community and reflecting on our own values and experiences, we now know that rebuilding trust is no longer possible."
The Husch Blackwell report, named for the law firm that authored it, found that LSU Tigers football coach Les Miles engaged in inappropriate behavior and sexualized student workers during his time at the school. Miles denies the charges.
The head of LSU's Athletic Department called for Miles' firing in 2013 as Alexander was just taking the helm, but the football coach ultimately held onto his job for another three years.
Alexander had previously defended his oversight of Title IX issues during his time at LSU, though he admitted that the report left him with a "heavy heart and sense of self acknowledgment."
"My commitment to preventing sexual misconduct is deeply personal and decades long," Alexander said on March 8. "In hindsight, beyond limitations that were put into place between the coach and students, I now regret that we did not take stronger action earlier against Coach Miles, including suspension leading to further investigation and dismissal for violations of university policy, before I ordered him terminated in early fall 2016."
During their investigation, students, faculty, staff and community members shared "their frustration and disappointment in the university's response to community efforts to raise awareness regarding issues of sexual misconduct," according to the report.
"These frustrations were aimed largely at Alexander, whom community members felt did not prioritize this issue or meaningfully engage with individuals raising concerns," the Husch Blackwell report continued.
The terms of Alexander's resignation include a $670,000 lump sum payment and money for medical and dental insurance for a year, OPB reported.
Executive Vice President Ed Feser will serve as Oregon State University's acting president in the short term as OSU begins the process to hire Alexander's replacement. Alexander was appointed OSU president on July 1, 2020, following the retirement of President Ed Ray, who had served as the school's leader for 17 years.
Borkar said the Board of Trustees will review hiring procedures, consider an inclusive selection process for future presidents and continue to bolster its Title IX and survivor support programs.
"This work is never done. There is always room for improvement," she said. "We hear and are moved by the courageous survivors who stepped forward to share their experiences of sexual assault and those who have been harmed by recent events and may question the university's commitment. We support you and will continue to work to earn your trust."
Follow me on Twitter
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.