Calvin University President Resigns Over ‘Inappropriate’ Messages

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Creative Commons

The president of Calvin University has stepped down after he “engaged in unwelcome and inappropriate communication and attention toward a non-student member of the campus community,” the school’s board of trustees announced Monday afternoon.

Wiebe Boer, a former Shell oil executive, was appointed in March 2022 to the top job at the private Christian institution—formerly Calvin College—in Grand Rapids, Michigan. When the administration “recently” received a report of alleged unseemly behavior by Boer, it “immediately engaged outside experts” to investigate, the board said in a statement, highlighting its commitment to comply with “our policy and legal requirements, including Title IX.”

“The report did not include allegations of sexually explicit communication or physical contact, but the alleged conduct is concerning and inappropriate,” the statement said.

Title IX is a federal statute meant to protect students from discrimination on the basis of sex.

Boer “denied some of the allegations” but confessed to “sending communications that were inappropriate and inconsistent with the high standard of conduct and character expected of the President of Calvin University,” it went on, adding, “Dr. Boer subsequently offered his resignation, which the Board accepted.”

Boer’s faculty page had already been taken offline as of Tuesday morning. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast.

Several months after Boer was appointed to the president’s job, a Calvin sociology professor was reportedly pushed out by the university for officiating at a former student’s same-sex wedding. In response, Boer told Religion News Service that he wanted Calvin to be a place where everyone felt included.

“I don’t want to be the president of an institution that isn’t welcoming to everybody,” he said.

The university has named vice president of advancement Gregory Elzinga to serve as interim president as it conducts a search for Boer’s permanent replacement. Elzinga will address the student body on Thursday at 3:30 p.m., according to the Calvin board.

“As we enter this season of transition,” the board’s Monday statement concluded, “we are united in our shared mission to equip students to think deeply, act justly, and live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world.”

Notable Calvin University alumni include former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Oscar-nominated screenwriter Paul Schrader, and Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI).

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