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F. King Alexander resigns from Oregon State

Updated: Mar. 23, 2021 at 12:34 PM CDT
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CORVALLIS, Ore. (WAFB) - F. King Alexander says he will resign from Oregon State University effective April 1. The move comes amid an outpouring of criticism of Alexander’s handling of sexual misconduct complaints during his time as president of LSU.

The Oregon board agreed to pay Alexander a one-time payment of $630,000, representing his annual salary, plus $40,000 in relocation costs and payment of his health and medical insurance through March 2022.

The board said the payments to Alexander would be made with private funds, and not from taxpayer dollars.

His resignation follows a lengthy meeting by the Oregon State University Board of Trustees last week in which they put Alexander on probation.

However, following more backlash, the board scheduled another meeting for today to revisit Alexander’s employment.

In opening today’s meeting, OSU Board Chair Rani Borkar said that the board hoped that Alexander could rebuild the trust of the Oregon State Community.

“We now know that rebuilding trust is no longer possible,” Borkar said. “Dr. Alexander no longer has the confidence of the OSU community,” she added.

Borkar told the board that Alexander offered his resignation Sunday.

After making that announcement, Borkar announced the board would go into executive session to discuss the university’s next steps.

Borkar issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon:

“Members of the OSU Community,

The most important responsibility of the Board of Trustees is to select the right leader for our university and the entire OSU community.

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.

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. In response, over the weekend, the Board scheduled to meet this morning as we learned President Alexander no longer had the confidence of the OSU community. This broken trust was expressed not only by the vote of the Faculty Senate but by an outpouring of thoughtful statements from students, alumni and survivors of sexual assault.

On Sunday, President Alexander offered his resignation, effective April 1. Meeting today in public session, the OSU Board of Trustees voted to accept his resignation as president of Oregon State University.

As we move forward, I want to share three commitments to the OSU community and all Oregonians.

First, the responsibility and accountability for selecting and evaluating the president rests with this board. I pledge to work with the Board to review past procedures and to learn and improve from this experience. We can do better, and we will do better for OSU.

Second, looking ahead, I will ask the Board to consider what best represents an inclusive selection process for future presidents that is informed by what we have learned from this experience and reflects the culture and values of OSU.

Third, in recent years, OSU has made important progress in our Title IX and survivor support programs. This work is never done. There is always room for improvement. 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.

Oregon State University is committed to public higher education and to provide for the prosperity and wellness of all. We serve the needs of Oregonians, our nation and the world and are guided by our values of accountability, transparency and compassion. In everything we do, this university and its board must act with integrity. We admit when we make mistakes, and we always seek to improve. This has been our past for 152 years, and it will continue to be our future.

I thank the OSU Board of Trustees for its decision to accept King Alexander’s resignation, effective April 1.

And I thank the Board of Trustees for its designation of Provost and Executive Vice President Ed Feser as Oregon State University’s acting president. Provost Feser is a seasoned leader, and we are confident that OSU and the university community will be well-served while the Board considers its options regarding interim leadership. He is strongly committed to shared governance, and OSU’s promise to be a welcoming community that has safety as a top priority while fostering inclusion, equity and diversity. He is a champion for students, faculty and staff.

Tomorrow morning at 8, the Board of Trustees’ Executive and Audit Committee will discuss next steps in assessing the university’s Title IX reporting and survivor services. The committee also will discuss next steps to respond to feedback and questions the Board has received from the OSU Faculty Senate. And it will discuss the timeline and process for the appointment of an interim president.

The last few weeks have been a difficult experience for all of us and the entire OSU community. We will learn from this experience, yet we will not let it divide us. Let us heal together. Let us rededicate ourselves to excellence in teaching, student success, research discovery and service engagement.

This is an incredible university and community. Together, we will build on the legacy and strengths of Oregon State University.”

RELATED: LSU did nothing to correct problem of athletic officials keeping allegations against athletes in-house, second USA Today article says

As he fought to keep his job during last week’s meeting, Alexander repeatedly slammed LSU as he described the many obstacles he said he faced during his time in Louisiana.

He characterized LSU as a seriously underfunded place where “athletics tried to run the university” and where certain segments of the Baton Rouge community were opposed to change.

He also described former LSU Head Football Coach Les Miles as someone who believed he was “bigger than life” and a person who was “not a good university citizen.” He claims that attitude, and not just his performance as a coach, is what ultimately led him to fire Miles.

RELATED: Alleva recommended firing Les Miles in 2013 over inappropriate behavior

Alexander told the board that the operations at Oregon State are vastly better from LSU, a place he described as being “behind the times.”

The Oregon State inquiries into Alexander came after a recent sweeping probe of LSU by private firm Husch Blackwell that focused on how LSU handled complaints of sexual misconduct, including some that happened during Alexander’s time at LSU.

Read the full report here.

Alexander served as president of LSU from 2013 to 2019. He started his new $630,000 per year position at Oregon State in July 2020.

In calling the meeting, the board said it wanted to review Alexander’s “leadership at LSU over Title IX, his handling of sexual misconduct, and subsequent information regarding sexual misconduct that has been shared.”

Les Miles left his job as coach at the University of Kansas earlier this month because of issues raised during the same Husch Blackwell probe into LSU including its Title IX program.

RELATED: Chair of LSU board ‘deeply offended’ by former president’s comments about university

The Title IX program is aimed at protecting people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.

Former LSU Athletics Director Joe Alleva recommended firing Miles from LSU in 2013 because of the coach’s alleged inappropriate contact with female students, the Husch Blackwell investigation found.

Miles was accused of kissing an LSU student, sending text messages to female students, and taking some of them to his off-campus condo alone. He denied kissing the student and was not accused of any sexual relationships with any of them.

RELATED: Former LSU President F. King Alexander releases statement following Title IX report

Alleva emailed top LSU officials in 2013, saying he specifically instructed Miles to “not text, call or be alone with any student workers and he obviously didn’t listen,” the investigation found. “I believe it is in the best interest in the long run to make a break,” Alleva said in the email.

Alleva said he believed the actions of Miles had put the university “at great risk,” the report says.Despite that, Miles continued coaching for three additional years before being fired after a dismal 2-2 start of the 2016 football season, investigators said.

”I think his continued employment needs to be seriously considered,” Alleva said in an April 2013 email to LSU Chancellor William Jenkins and LSU counsel.

RELATED: Oregon State places former LSU president F. King Alexander on probation following Husch Blackwell report

Three months later, Alleva wrote an email to incoming LSU President F. King Alexander and LSU attorneys, again suggesting that the university should consider firing Miles.

Investigators said they were unable to find where anyone responded to Alleva’s email.

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