Cedarville Reinstates President White; Trustees Akin & Vroegop Resign

By Julie Roys

Cedarville University’s Board of Trustees today reinstated Dr. Thomas White as president, despite an investigation’s conclusion that White obscured the nature of a professor’s sexual misconduct and withheld this information from the board.

As a result, two trustees, Pastor Mark Vroegop of College Park Church and Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, have resigned. Both said they were troubled by the board’s decision and could not support it.

The professor, Dr. Anthony Moore, was fired from his position as an assistant professor of theology and Special Advisor to the President for Kingdom Diversity in April.

This came after White said he learned new details about Moore’s prior sexual misconduct, which involved taking multiple secret videos of a male youth pastor showering.(The church that had previously fired Moore, however, said it had disclosed all these details to White before Moore was hired.)

President Thomas White

On May 1, Cedarville’s trustees put Moore on administrative leave, pending an independent investigation. Today, the board announced the results of that investigation, which was conducted by the law firm Husch Blackwell.

Husch Blackwell said it found that there is “no reason to question President White’s benevolent motivation” for hiring Moore.

Yet, the firm also said that “it is reasonable to infer from the evidence available that President White took steps that he knew, or should have known, clouded the specific nature of Dr. Moore’s misconduct. The firm also concluded that White “subsequently failed to notify the Board of the specific nature of Dr. Moore’s misconduct.”

Despite these findings, the board reinstated White, noting that White “has apologized for these mistakes, acknowledged his errors in judgment . . . and has expressed remorse for hiring Dr. Moore.”

However, the board said it is requiring White to complete courses on victim prevention and victim advocacy and to lead Cedarville to emphasize these issues.

In a statement tweeted this afternoon, Danny Akin said that the hiring of Moore and the plan for his restoration “was seriously flawed” and “poorly implemented.” Akin said he tendered his resignation immediately after the board voted on Tuesday to reinstate White.

Similarly, Vroegop said in a statement posted online that he does not believe that the steps taken by the board “are sufficient in light of what the report revealed.” Vroegop said he has resigned from the board effective today.

Below is the full statement from the Cedarville Board of Trustees:

 

CEDARVILLE UNIVERSITY BOARD OF TRUSTEES
RESOLUTION OF BOARD FINDINGS OF THE INDEPENDENT REPORTS
June 26, 2020
 

WHEREAS, the Board of Trustees of Cedarville University was made aware of additional information related to Dr. Anthony Moores past that led to the termination of his employment by President Thomas White on April 23, 2020; and

WHEREAS, the Board of Trustees considered this matter at the spring meeting of the Board and ordered three courses of action on May 1, 2020:

  1. To hire an independent firm to conduct an internal investigation to ensure nothing inappropriate involving Dr. Moore took place on our campus or with any of our students elsewhere. This firm will report to the Board, and the Board will then report the findings to the Cedarville University community at-large.
  2. To retain an independent firm to conduct an audit of the entire process surrounding the hiring of Dr. Moore. This will include a thorough review of all relevant communication involving Dr. White and Dr. Moore, the Trustees, The Village Church, employment references, etc. The firm will report its findings to the Board.
  3. To place Dr. White on administrative leave during these investigations and appointed Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Loren Reno as acting president of Cedarville University; and

WHEREAS, the Board of Trustees asked Husch Blackwell LLP to conduct an investigation using its independent professional judgment and to present its findings to the Board; and

WHEREAS, Husch Blackwell LLP found no evidence that Dr. Moore engaged in any conduct of a sexual nature on campus or with any University student or employee elsewhere; and

WHEREAS, the Board of Trustees asked Husch Blackwell LLP to conduct an audit of the process surrounding the hiring of Dr. Moore using its independent professional judgment and to present its findings to the Board independent of any outside influence; and 

WHEREAS, Husch Blackwell LLP found that:

  1. There is no reason to question President White’s benevolent motivation with respect to the overall enterprise of hiring Dr. Moore.
  2. It is reasonable to infer from the evidence available that President White took steps that he knew, or should have known, clouded the specific nature of Dr. Moore’s misconduct.
  3. It is reasonable to infer that President White subsequently failed to notify the Board of the specific nature of Dr. Moore’s misconduct; and 

WHEREAS, President White has apologized for these mistakes, acknowledged his errors in judgment and oversight, and has expressed remorse for hiring Dr. Moore; and

WHEREAS, President White took action when he learned the full extent of Dr. Moore’s past; and

WHEREAS, President White has seven years of excellent service, and during his administrative leave he has continued to express remorse for his mistakes and has voluntarily cooperated with the internal investigation; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Board of Trustees of Cedarville University reinstates President White from administrative leave; and be it

RESOLVED, that the Board of Trustees of Cedarville University is requiring Dr. White:

  1. To complete courses on victim prevention and victim advocacy
  2. To lead Cedarville University to emphasize victim prevention, awareness, advocacy, and other related areas; and be it 

RESOLVED, that the Board of Trustees of Cedarville University commits to moving forward with humility, grace, mercy, integrity, civility, and respect and prays that God will be honored by these actions.

Mark Vroegop’s Statement:

 

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46 thoughts on “Cedarville Reinstates President White; Trustees Akin & Vroegop Resign”

  1. Cedarville Dad

    I’m a bit disappointed but not surprised by the trustees. I appreciate the two who have voiced their opposition, unfortunately they will probably be replaced by some more in the old boys network.

  2. Concerned citizen

    This is a deeply disturbing decision and just shows how deep the veins of “brotherhood” run. Even if Dr. White’s decision was based on repentance and restoration- the bottom line is Cedarville University students and Cedarville H/MS/Elementary students were affected based on the Moore’s involvement in sporting events/coaching roles. I’ll continue to pray for my town and the university, but I’m very upset at this decision. The students of CU deserve better. So much better.

  3. Thomas White lied to the board and the Cedarville Community at large about Dr. Moore’s criminal sexual conduct and covered it up. Then , he was caught in his lies and quickly fired Dr. Moore. Is this the kind of leader Cedarville needs? Absolutely not. As an alumnus, I have witnessed his dishonesty toward others. He exhibits narcissistic behaviors. He acted like he was the victim. He did not seem to care about Dr. Moore’s sexual abuse victim. Dr. White, do the right thing and resign. You are unfit to be President of Cedarville University.

  4. Disappointed, but not surprised

    This is so unfortunate. I believe in grace and forgiveness, but not at the hands of thousands of innocent students. The board made a huge mistake and I pray that parents of Cedarville University students are privy to what is going on.

  5. Doo Wop Coke Fan

    I have followed this story with interest because Cedarville used to be a sister college of my Alma Mater, Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I’m sorry to learn of this. But not surprised. Cedarville, which has been a good Christian college, appears to have the same tendency as many contemporary American Evangelical institutions: pretend things aren’t so bad and maintain the “appearance” of having it together. And remember, it’s not “just” the Anthony Moore debacle. What have we learned here on The Roys Report, or Todd Wilhelm’s blog, or Wartburg Watch? And don’t forget all of the comments attached to the petition to have Dr. White dismissed. For several years now, there have been issues over tenure, transparency, counseling students, and even the treatment of those who struggle with depression. Many concerns have been expressed by credible witnesses, including professors, all of which point to an unhealthy atmosphere or spirit. The administration needs a course correction.

  6. Geesh CU board doesn’t even have the moxie that the SWTS board did when they fired Patterson for lying (except for the two who resigned and Craig Miller for resigning from Grace). White lied too. White manipulated the board and only fired Moore cause it came out on the internet. Taking “victim” classes won’t do one ounce of diddly to change White’s narcissistic, power hungry, money grubbing personality. Makes me wonder why White has such sympathy for same sex attraction…..

    1. Another Cedarville Dad

      I am grateful that Mark Vroegop, former Trustee, confirmed that “no Cedarville University students were affected” by Dr. Anthony Moore’s homosexual voyeurism.

      I am also grateful that Danny Akin, Critical Race Theorist, is no longer a Trustee.

      The former disaffected Psychology Professors and coterie may now pursue more productive endeavours, and seek some measure of healing for their unrequited anger, as CU moves forward in academic excellence.

      Kudos and thanks to LTG Reno for a job well and honourably done during the last month’s.

      1. Another Cedarville Dad

        Vinnierants,

        I accurately quoted the averment by Former Trustee Mark Vroegop that “no Cedarville students were affected” by Moore’s homosexual voyeurism. Vroegop read the investigation, and actually disagreed with the retention of Dr. White as Cedarville’ President. In turn, Vroegop resigned as a Trustee.

        Your knowledge of the matter is not superior to that of Vroegop. Rather, you appear angry and petulant because you desired the Trustees to decide differently concerning Dr. White’s retention. In any event, there exists no basis to question Vroegop’s veracity or statement. Vroegop acted and wrote with integrity.

        1. Another Cedarville Dad,
          The law firm’s statement that “no Cedarville students were affected” could be more accurately stated as “no Cedarville students reported.” Please keep in mind that the law firm’s investigation was not a truly independent investigation.

          Vinnerante’s mention of the basketball student was fair and to that I would add the student who expressed interest in hunting, who was likely being groomed by Moore.

          I am truly dismayed by the uncritical rejoicing of scores of Thomas White fans. I wish him no harm and I hope that this reinstatement is an opportunity to demonstrate a new humility and contriteness in and accept the rebuke of loving leaders.

        2. But your missing the point. A student was affected despite whomever from the Board said otherwise. As to being angry and petulant, I do not know how you read that in my statements. I am saddened though. Again, you do not seem very sympathetic towards the students. I mentioned a specific student and you just showboated and let me know how little I know. You display the very attitude that we are concerned about.

          1. Another Cedarville Dad

            Vinnie,

            Your intemperate rant suggests that you are persuaded that you have superior knowledge to that of Former Trustee Vroegop, who agrees with your position. At the risk of “showboating,” whatever that means, I reaffirm that you do not.

            If a CU student has been victmized by Moore, l urge the student to render a complaint to law enforcement authorities. According to The Roys Report, no such complaints have been made to law enforcement or the Trustees.

            Should a student report his victimization, he will, of course, receive sympathy from the entire Christian community at Cedarville. I regret your disappointment that no victims have come forward thus far.

      2. “Showboating” is a term we use out West. It means you are setting up a straw man and then knocking it down and you are targeting my motives, which you have no way of knowing. At least your showing some sympathy for the students. There is a difference between “moral” culpability and what is done in a legal context. A difference between doing what is right and what is allowable by law. Christian leaders are held to a higher standard (all Christians are held to a higher standard, which I include myself) How would you feel if you had a son who was “victimized” by being observed by a known voyeur (a psychiatric disorder) and a president who misled his Board. Again, I am not angry, but shouldn’t we expect more of our spiritual leaders? I come out of “secular” education and if this same situation happened, we would see a quick exiting of leadership.

      3. Regarding academic excellence, it will be interesting to see what the accreditors have to say. Thos isn’t over by a long shot.

        1. I hate to say this–as a Michigan State grad who is appalled at their scandals–but if accrediting agencies didn’t slam Michigan State, Ohio State, USC, and others for their far more massive sexual abuse scandals, I’d have to guess they won’t ding Cedarville, either. Same thing goes for the NCAA, really.

          Would love to be proven wrong here, obviously, but history is history.

      4. Johannes Silentio

        Dear fundie aka “another Cedarville dad,”

        CU’s Neo-Donatist fundamentalism is the reason why young people are leaving the faith.

        With this recent decision to reinstate Dr. White, they have officially become the Bob Jones of the North. Please, go home. Educate yourself on these things.

        Here are some resources to help get you started:

        Fundamentalism and American Culture, by George Marsden

        Fundamentalist U, by Adam Laats

        Island in the Lake of Fire, by Mark Dalhouse

        The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, by Mark Noll

        The Roots of Fundamentalism, by Ernest Sandeen

        The Divided Mind of Protestant America, by Ferenc Szasz

        Revive Us Again, by Joel Carpenter

        Sincerely,

        Johannes Silentio

        1. Another Cedarville Dad

          Silentio,

          Wrong throughout. Hardly a fundie, a pejorative term for sincere God- honouring Baptists, I subscribe to the WCF, the Westminster Larger and Shorter catechisms, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, and the Canons of Dort.

          Best to remain silentio unless you have a clue.

    2. Really, Nutt? You can righteously condemn White for lying and then engage in slanderous speculation? You undermine yourself

  7. They didn’t even offer a censure or reprimand to White. They swept the “yes, he lied” conclusions under the “benevolent motivations” rug. They’re not even pretending to hold the president to the same standard that they hold faculty, staff, and students. Can you imagine if a student said “Sure, I cheated and then lied about it, but I had good intentions!”?!? This is a serious breach of integrity by the Board.

    1. Good point. It remains to be seen whether White will be able to lead without appearing hypocritical. Some serious self abasement needs to occur starting at thus fall’s first chapel.

      1. Probably won’t happen. Dr White has already tweeted that he looks forward to serving Jesus “even better” this coming year.

  8. Very sad. I’ve spent a lot of time working with sex offenders. That has given me an appreciation for the depth of depravity of human kind. I believe we often lose sight of that in the Christian church. Additionally victims often fail to realize that sometimes it takes victims years to recognize that the abuse that happened was abuse. Thus there is no assurance that abuse did not happen to students at CU or to others in the community.

    Sad day.

  9. You would think the Board might “slightly” be concerned that they were lied to and their reputations tarnished. I do not see any mention of how these decisions affected the trust and good will of faculty and students. What about the security and mental health of the students? How can you run a university with such animosity and distrust?

  10. Welcome to CU’s latest “restoration project” – this time featuring Thomas White!

    It’s the same old recipe… start with an admitted (fill in the blank), and after “remorse”, restore (or rather “fast-track”) them back to a place of prominence. With Moore it was 6 months, with White it was 56 days.

    “Benevolent motivations” = no consequences for actions (seriously…take a class as a consequence for what you’ve done; who are they trying to kid here?) Wow. Having a hard time getting my head around this one.

    As an alum and former employee, incredibly disappointed with the Board of Trustees.

  11. This is sad, disturbing and tragic. If Dr. White had any integrity or care for Cedarville, he would resign. This is dividing the Cedarville community. I am a parent of a CU student. My child’s friend group is deeply divided over Dr. White.

    Dr. White, please do the right thing and resign so that Cedarville can start to heal.

    Board of Trustees, do the right thing and force Dr. White to resign.

  12. CU Alum and Donor

    As a CU alum and donor, I would be interested in partnering with other CU family to fund a truly independent investigation. I want to continue to support CU but this process has left me with more concerns then what it helped clear. The focus seemed more on protecting one person then our students. More time needs to be provided and students need to have greater comfort in who is doing the investigation.

    1. I appreciate your desire to know the truth. One huge issue here is that the trustees’ statement claims that “President White took action when he learned the full extent of Dr. Moore’s past.” This is false according to the elders at The Village Church Fort Worth.

      When I talked to Elder Jeff Jamison about White’s claim that when he hired Moore, White thought that Moore’ misconduct was “not a habitual thing,” Jamison said: “The elders are confident that it was made clear it wasn’t a one-time lapse in judgment on Anthony’s part. That was (Moore’s) false narrative that was corrected regularly.” To read more about what TVC told White and others at Cedarville, see this article: https://julieroys.com/the-village-church-disputes-account-by-cedarville-president-regarding-anthony-moore-names-others-it-told-about-moores-past/

      If that’s true, then even now, White is not being honest.

      If I were in your shoes, I would demand that Husch Blackwell’s report be made public. There is absolutely no reason for that to be withheld from the entire Cedarville community.

      Also, Megan Lively’s assertion that White helped cover up her rape when he was at Southeastern is extremely serious. This was one of the main reasons Southwestern fired Paige Patterson. Yet, the board has done nothing concerning Lively’s claim. This is unconscionable. (See: https://julieroys.com/rape-victim-whose-story-ousted-paige-patterson-says-cedarville-pres-thomas-white-was-part-of-cover-up/)

    2. Another Cedarville Dad

      CU Alum and Donor,

      I concur. Victims should render reports to law enforcement authorities. They are independent of the Trustees, and possess investigation capacities superior to journalists and Trustees. They can obtain subpoenas and warrants.

      1. CU Alum and Donor

        I would definitely encourage any victim to contact authorities. My concern is that it often is a major hurdle emotionally to come to the point of speaking to authorities as was the case with the first victim. An independent investigation sponsored by alumni, parents, donors, etc. should help to lower the intimidation because we have nothing to protect like the administration does. Our goal would be the protection of the students and the institution we love. We aren’t risking our jobs, reputation as trustees, etc. However, if nothing happened, then the trustees should be willing to share the full report with the Cedarville family. I would hope it wouldn’t take warrants and subpoenas to get to the truth at an institution “For the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ.”

  13. One would think the Cedarville community/town at large would be outraged. Are citizens taking any sort of action?

  14. Duped parent, I agree one might think the CU community would be outraged but apparently not everyone knows what is going on. A friend whose child attends CU told me he knew nothing about this whole matter. Imagine that.

    And what of the other men on the board? Why aren’t more of them resigning or speaking out? Is it true that board members’ children receive free tuition? If so how many board members currently have children enrolled there?

  15. The Board’s statement indicates that they found that Dr. Moore did not engage in “sexual conduct on campus or WITH” another person. This is the same language as Dr. White when he “clouded” the original issue of Dr. Moore with the Board. Dr. Moore’s video taping another in a shower was not “perversion technologically WITH another” (Dr. White’s language). It was video taping AGAINST another. The Board appears to be parsing words just like Dr. White did with them.

    1. You might consider the Charitable Law Section of the Ohio Attorney General’s office. They represent all Ohioans in the oversight of Ohio non-profit corporations.

  16. I wonder how Dr. White will preach on “integrity in conduct” which is one of the Cedarville University core values (see their website)? I guess the core values only apply to the students and faculty. From the student handbook, students are upheld to the following: “When Cedarville students pledge to live with integrity, it is a commitment to be truthful, honor commitments, submit to authority, and obey the Word of God and just laws”. Dr. White wasn’t truthful like the students are expected to be.

    How can Dr. White lead Cedarville when he no longer has the respect of many students and faculty?

    My child plans on not attending/listening to any of Dr. White’s chapel messages. I wonder if other students will feel the same way?

    1. Former CU Prof

      Sadly, many students are still rabidly defending White. I feel so sorry for them, really. They’re young, immature, and impressionable. They say they refuse to read all the articles on the “blogs” because the blogs are “anti-Cedarville” and “biased.” They denigrate The Roys Report this way, too. (Sorry, Julie!)

      So they refuse to engage with any facts–or at least try to discern what is, or is not, fact. Like White, they have “all or nothing” intellects, so they’ve thrown the baby out with the bath water. They keep sounding like the Corinthians whom Paul was admonishing (with a huge dose of sarcasm, no less) in II Corinthians 11: 19-20: “You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face.”

      Thankfully, some students see through White’s smoke & mirrors. They are publishing here:

      https://politikblog555475425.wordpress.com/?fbclid=IwAR2prPYhZRQbGY4Y0h82r1e4WluWApnG0Jau95k4a47GABVPKoII2NPpkGM

      I keep praying for all these students. It’s terrible how White has developed into a cult figure on that campus and engenders cult worship to boot. Many students deny this phenomenon, too, but they are incapable of climbing out of their fish bowls to look in from the outside. I pray that these students, when they do come to realize the truth, won’t abandon whatever faith they may have left that point.

    2. Concerned Student

      I am a current student, and I am outraged at how deceptive Dr.White was and how the situation was handled. There are major problems that I see rising to the surface such as a serious misunderstanding of sexual abuse and restoration. I no longer respect Dr. White and I too don’t plan to listen or attend any of Dr. White’s chapel messages. If there is a chapel walk-out, I will most likely participate. I want to be connected to students who are upset like me so we can petition for change, because it seems that there are many students who are blindly supporting Dr. White, but I know that there are others like me.

  17. Another Cedarville Dad

    Former CU Prof,

    Your referenced website listing Baptists who are to be held accountable includes persons only from Cedarville University.

    Why aren’t J. D. Greear, Loritts, and Trotter listed? Why is Greear never held accountable for anything?

  18. Former CU Prof

    I’m confused by your response because I didn’t post that website. I posted a link to the website present CU students are writing about CU’s troubles. They, too, believe White should have been fired or should have resigned.

    However, I did go to Baptist accountability and found that Bryan Loritts is there: https://baptistaccountability.org/list/bryan-loritts/

    I, too, am greatly discouraged by J.D. Greear’s actions. I’m grateful for Julie Roys’s reporting on that situation. The fact that Greear is the SBC president tells you all you need to know about why he’s not being held accountable—he apparently has too much power.

    1. Another Cedarville Dad

      Thanks. Point well taken on Greear. ////. Different internal links to websites, I suppose.

  19. Greetings everyone,

    It is disturbing how the worship of the Golden Calf of $, success, fame has filled our lives/culture.

    Julies blog wouldn’t exists if people really questioned if people of substance (usually men) were people of God.

    Scratch the surface and what lies under the surface?
    It’s too embarrassing for Cederville to relieve its President for not being forth coming. It would damage the school’s prestige and that would damage its revenue and the chance for the people involved to pick up lucrative side projects.

    Best regards,
    CJ

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