NAMPA – Northwest Nazarene University released a statement Saturday to the campus community saying former president David Alexander resigned his position over an "inappropriate relationship" he had 25 years ago when he was a professor.
After seven years as president at NNU, Alexander resigned in May, just weeks after he laid off popular theology professor Thomas Oord through a budget decision. The move led to a controversy on campus and a “no confidence” vote from 77 percent of the faculty. But now the university says Alexander resigned after information about an inappropriate relationship between Alexander and an unidentified person came to the board's attention.
Randy Craker, chair of the board of trustees, wrote in an official statement that information about the relationship was brought to his attention in April.
“I immediately contacted legal counsel to begin a process of investigation,” Craker wrote. “The individual was contacted … the individual confirmed that an inappropriate relationship had occurred when Dr. Alexander had been on the faculty.”
The statement goes on to say that when confronted with the allegations, Alexander admitted to the relationship. The board then accepted his resignation on May 11.
The statement was posted on a Facebook page titled “Support TRANSPARENCY of Tom Oord, Dr. Diane LeClerc and ETHICAL NNU,” a member group that has been following NNU and the Tom Oord controversy closely.
Craker said he and the board decided not to go public with the information because they didn't want to cause further harm to the individual involved.
“At the same time, we also agreed that Dr. Alexander needed to be accountable for his past actions,” he wrote. “As a result, we accepted his resignation and sought to proceed in a manner that would maintain confidentiality.”
Craker went on to write that inappropriate relationships between faculty or staff members with students in inexcusable. The board had no further allegations of misconduct or inappropriate relationships regarding Alexander.
Alexander gained the majority of his faculty and administrative experience during 17 years at Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma. He left the NNU faculty to serve as chair of the SNU School of Music.
Alexander and his wife, Sandy, have been married for 36 years. Both graduated from Point Loma University in 1977.
Robert O'Donahue, director of educational partnerships at NNU, had no comment on the news, stating that Craker's letter was the official statement from the university.
“Our hearts go out to the person who has carried this secret for over 25 years,” Craker wrote. “We are deeply saddened by what occurred.”