Leading evangelical author and theologian John G. Stackhouse, Jr., has been fired following a six-month investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior, his former employer, Crandall University, announced just before Thanksgiving.
Crandall University, a Baptist college in New Brunswick, Canada, notified Stackhouse of his termination on Wednesday, according to a presione soltar from the institution. His resume shows he had been a professor of religious studies and the dean of faculty development at Crandall since 2015.
Stackhouse has written 11 books, including “Partners in Christ: A conservative case for egalitarianism,” and co-authored or edited several more, su sitio web states. He has also given more than a thousand interviews for major outlets in the U.S., Canada, and Australia, his resume states. And he was one of the first leading evangelicals to confront now-disgraced apologist Ravi Zacharias in 2017 for inflating his academic credentials.
Stackhouse’s firing was first reported by Canadian broadcast outlet Noticias CBC. It came days after Crandall’s board of governors received the findings from a six-month investigation into alleged “inappropriate or sexually oriented statements or conversations” in 2020 and 2021, the press release indicated.
The university’s board of governors hired Pink Larkin, a law firm specializing in business and employment matters, in April, according to the release. That came shortly after an anonymous Instagram account began posting allegations of misconduct by unnamed Crandall professors.
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In a statement provided to El Informe Roys (TRR) by Stackhouse’s attorney, Denis Grigoras, Grigoras said Stackhouse “categorically disagrees with, among other things, the findings of the (Pink Larkin) Report.” The statement said Stackhouse also disagrees with “Crandall’s decision to publicly disseminate the details of the Report, a document concerning a sensitive internal matter, because it exceeds the bounds of appropriateness and necessity.”
University spokesman Darrell Nevers told TRR in an email, “This is Crandall’s first time working with Pink Larkin.”
Attorney Joel Michaud led the investigation, which “involved dozens of interviews with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other community members, plus an extensive review of documents including correspondence, emails, and social media posts,” Crandall’s press release indicated.
De acuerdo a un Resumen de resultados released by Crandall, “the investigator spoke personally to many of the students and former students who have shared their experiences on the #DoBetterCrandall Instagram account.”
The investigator was satisfied that “the incidents reported (on the Instagram account) occurred as the witnesses described them to the investigator,” according to the summary.
The firm presented its findings to the board of governors in mid-November, the press release stated. Pink Larkin recommended “severe disciplinary action” against the lone faculty member still at Crandall, according to the summary of findings.
The board of governors approved Stackhouse’s termination on Nov. 22, the press release states, and announced it publicly the same day. It was effective immediately.
The university has not received any further complaints since publicizing the findings of Pink Larkin’s investigation, Nevers told TRR.
Stackhouse taught or worked with about 900 students during his time at Crandall, according to Nevers.
Cuándo TRR first reached out to Stackhouse for comment on Crandall University’s announcement and Pink Larkin’s findings, his spokeswoman, Sarah-Jane Britton, replied with a Carta de infracción, demanding that TRR refrain from defaming Stackhouse.
TRR asked Britton to specify what parts of Crandall’s statements and/or the Pink Larkin findings were untrue. Stackhouse then provided the statement by Attorney Grigoras.
The statement says Stackhouse “acknowledges and respects the importance of addressing any misconduct allegations thoroughly and fairly.” However, it claims that the “manner in which Crandall has chosen to handle this matter is profoundly concerning to (Stackhouse).”
The statement claims that Crandall’s decision to make “these disputed details public are disproportionate and seemingly aimed at turning a private matter into a public spectacle. This approach is unnecessary and damaging.”
The statement added that Stackhouse is exploring all legal options.
Allegations range from sexist classroom behavior to grooming, deception
Much of the Pink Larkin investigation focused on a single faculty member, the summary shows. That faculty member is not named, and the summary does mention a few other professors, too. However, the summary indicates the other professors had already left Crandall when the summary was prepared.
The investigation found that the faculty member displayed “persistent” conduct “of a sexual nature,” the summary stated. The investigator wrote in the summary that he believed the faculty member’s behavior constituted sexual harassment and “bordered on Abuse of authority” as defined in university policy.
In one case, some 100 pages of emails between the faculty member and a student showed what the investigator called “a classic case of grooming,” according to the summary. The faculty member did not deny having written the emails, the investigator wrote in the summary. The faculty member also acknowledged they were “inappropriate, unhealthy,” and “unbecoming of a professor.”
However, the faculty member called the emails “something of an aberration from a long career” that happened under “extreme circumstances that will not reoccur,” according to the summary.
The investigator also “found it more likely than not” that the faculty member’s former employer had received at least one complaint from a student alleging misconduct by the faculty member, according to the summary. The investigator also believed such a complaint likely contributed to the faculty member leaving that institution.
In addition, the investigator believed the faculty member likely “deliberately misled the interviewing committee of Crandall” regarding such a complaint, the summary stated.
The summary included a response from the faculty member stating that the faculty member did not misrepresent himself to Crandall. In the response, the faculty member stated he was legally obligated “to avoid any specific reference to the terms of my leaving.”
Stackhouse, whose name does not appear in the summary, has worked at three institutions besides Crandall since finishing his Ph.D., his resume shows.
From 1998 until 2015, Stackhouse was professor of theology and culture at Regent College. A Regent spokesman told TRR that the college “is disturbed and saddened by the allegations” but could not comment further due to privacy laws.
Stackhouse was a professor of religion at the University of Manitoba (UM) from 1990-1998. A UM spokesman did not respond when TRR sought comment.
And from 1987-1990, Stackhouse was assistant professor of history at Northwestern College in Iowa. College spokeswoman Tamara Fynaardt said to her knowledge, Stackhouse “was never the subject of a sexual harassment complaint” while at Northwestern.
Responses lament students’ mistreatment, applaud university’s transparency
After news broke of Stackhouse’s firing, some praised Crandall’s handling of the situation while lamenting the alleged misconduct.
“I’m grateful that (Crandall University) did the right thing in public,” author and academic Beth Allison Barr escribió on Threads. “It’s time for us to stop allowing Christian churches and institutions to sweep this behavior under the rug.”
Canadian author and advocate Sheila Wray Gregoire called the news “a real personal blow.”
“I move in a lot of the same spaces as Stackhouse and really appreciated his work,” Gregoire added. “This is just a huge betrayal.”
Christy Hemphill, a linguistic consultant for Scripture translation in Mexico, suggested that egalitarians like Stackhouse are not exempt from calls to treat women better.
“People act like women from Evangelical backgrounds having trust issues is some kind of character flaw,” Hemphill escribió on Threads. “Nope, the list of reasons gets longer every week. Stop talking about women being ‘bitter and angry’ and do better. Talking to you too, ‘egalitarians.’”
Sarah Einselen es una escritora y editora premiada que vive en Texas, EEUU.