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UPDATE: King University leader resigns; students, faculty celebrate

February 14th, 2014 4:57 pm by Nathan Baker

UPDATE: King University leader resigns; students, faculty celebrate

Gregory D. Jordan

The campus of King University erupted with triumphant jubilation Friday evening, when the school’s president announced his immediate resignation.

Less than an hour after an email was sent to members of the media revealing President Gregory Jordan’s resignation, Dan Kreiss, the Presbyterian college’s assistant professor of youth ministry, said his head was still spinning from the news.

“We’re pretty ecstatic, my phone has been ringing like crazy,” he said. “This opens the door for the growth and renewal that King’s been anticipating all along, the stumbling block was the president’s position.”

In recent months, unrest has been growing at the private university’s Bristol campus, centered mainly on Jordan’s leadership.

Staff members and alumni, speaking anonymously to avoid repercussions, claimed Jordan’s unwillingness to communicate matters concerning the educational direction of the college was creating a toxic environment for learning.

A handful of websites, said to be founded by former students, sprang up to denounce Jordan’s practices and call for his dismissal.

An online petition to King’s Board of Trustees denouncing what supporters said was a “loss of vision and academic integrity” under the president’s administration was signed by more than 500 college alumni.

The student body began to sense the turmoil early last year, and they soon began staging protests and prayer circles in support of the faculty.

Resistance to Jordan’s rule came to a point earlier this week when university faculty and a handful of vice presidents held a confidence vote to gauge support, or lack thereof, for the administration.

The meeting proved that an overwhelming proportion of the current staff could no longer tolerate Jordan’s policies when 62 of the 100 voting members said they had no confidence in the president.

The announcement sent late Friday did not give the president’s motivation for resigning, nor did it acknowledge the recent strife.

Instead, it listed 20 of Jordan’s accomplishments made during his 17-year tenure at the helm of the institution.

“It is with a heavy heart that we accept Dr. Jordan’s resignation,” Board of Trustees Executive Committee member Marcia Porter is quoted as saying in the email. “We appreciate Greg’s tremendous contributions to the school during his tenure as president, and before that as an esteemed faculty member. King University is the institution it is today, with expanding campuses, additional programs and multiple learning platforms, due to his vision, leadership and business acumen.”

A spokesperson for the college said neither Jordan, nor Richard Ray, the board’s choice to replace the outgoing president in the interim, were available to comment on the resignation Friday.

Joseph Fitsanakis, assistant professor of political science, said with Jordan gone, the staff now looks forward to rebuilding relationships with administrators.

“Now we’re getting back to work,” Fitsanakis said. “In the last couple of weeks or so, faculty have not been able to focus on what they’re here for, at the same time, we will institute the types of mechanisms required so these kind of egregious things will never happen again.”

Student body president Dre Latimore threw his support behind the faculty, saying professors can expect aid from the students.

He said the college’s Student Government Administration plans to propose a tenure system to trustees that should give professors protection from undue termination.

“In just the last hour, I’ve seen so many faces that are very happy now,” Latimore said. “For the past few months, it’s been gloomy here, but now that they’ve heard the news, things have gotten brighter.”

He said the recent events have fortified the bonds between students and their teachers.

“Everyone on campus is excited,” he said. “We never stopped believing King is great place to learn, even though we went through controversy. The community is still strong.” 

Earlier version:

BRISTOL — King University President Gregory D. Jordan has resigned in the wake of a recent faculty no confidence vote and an alumni campaign for his ouster.

Jordan had served as president since 1997.

“It is with a heavy heart that we accept Dr. Jordan’s resignation,” Marcia Porter, member of the King University Board of Trustees Executive Committee, said in a news release. “We appreciate Greg’s tremendous contributions to the school during his tenure as President, and before that as an esteemed faculty member. King University is the institution it is today, with expanding campuses, additional programs and multiple learning platforms, due to his vision, leadership and business acumen.”

In a vote today, the Board of Trustees Executive Committee named Dr. Richard A. Ray as King's interim president. Prior to the appointment, Ray served as vice chairman of the Board.

Ray received his A.B. from Dartmouth College, his B.D. from Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, Va., and his Ph.D. from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He also attended Princeton Theological Seminary for a Rockefeller Fellowship year.

“Dr. Ray is a widely acclaimed Presbyterian minister,” Porter says. “His well-rounded life experience will be tremendously beneficial to King University as he serves as Interim President.”

A nationwide search will be conducted to select the University’s next President.

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