CEDARVILLE — Two members of the Cedarville University Board of Trustees resigned after President Dr. Thomas White was reinstated last Friday.
White had been on administrative leave since May 1 while an independent investigation into the hiring and firing of a professor was conducted. Dr. Anthony Moore had been fired as campus pastor of The Village Church in Forth Worth, Texas, in 2017 after allegations that he recorded another person on two occasions. White brought Moore to Cedarville under a “five year plan for restoration. ” He was terminated after White discovered the terms were violated.
Daniel Akin, the president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., and Mark Vroegop, the pastor of College Park Church in Indianapolis, disagreed with the decision to bring White back.
“ … the events surrounding the hiring of Dr. Anthony Moore and the five year plan of his restoration was seriously flawed from the beginning and poorly implemented once he arrived at Cedarville,” Akin posted on his Twitter page. “I believe the outside, independent investigation by the law firm of Husch Blackwell confirmed this. Their report was extremely troubling to me.”
He called the reinstatement “a decision I could not support.”
On his personal web page, Vroegop — a CU alum and board member since 2013 — said he was resigning because he could not support the steps taken “related to the reinstatement” of White.
” … the events surrounding the hiring of Dr. Anthony Moore and the execution of his restoration plan were deeply troubling. I’m thankful the Trustees took the appropriate steps of conducting a third-party investigation to examine the impact on students and the hiring process. I rejoice that no students were affected,” Vroegop wrote.
On June 26, the board issued a statement in the form of a resolution of findings of the independent reports. It stated that “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 that there “is no reason to question President White’s benevolent motivation with respect to the overall enterprise of hiring Dr. Moore.”
The investigation did determine 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,” and that “It is reasonable to infer that President White subsequently failed to notify the Board of the specific nature of Dr. Moore’s misconduct.”
But because White “has apologized for these mistakes, acknowledged his errors in judgment and oversight, and has expressed remorse for hiring Dr. Moore” and “took action when he learned the full extent of Dr. Moore’s past” the board voted for reinstatement.
The board is requiring White to complete courses on victim prevention and victim advocacy and to lead Cedarville University to emphasize victim prevention, awareness, advocacy, and other related areas.
White previously said he hired Moore based on “an incomplete narrative about Anthony Moore’s sin and termination from the Village Church.”
“On April 22, 2020, I learned that I did not have all the information about the original incident,” White said in an online statement in April. “Instead of at most two videos, I heard there were at least five videos. Instead of this being over a short period of time, I heard that these were taken over a period of at least five months. I also heard details of an unhealthy friendship. I confirmed that the two people who counseled with Anthony at Cedarville did not know this information either. If I had known these items at the beginning, I would not have attempted the plan for restoration.”
The Moore situation led to online petitions calling for White’s firing or resignation. A post at change.org called for White to be immediately terminated. It calls itself an organization of alumni, professors, staff and former employees.
“I’m sorry that I brought Anthony Moore to Cedarville University,” White said in a video released to the CU community. “I did not know all the information at first. When we learned the new information, we took the action needed. Dr. Moore violated our agreement. There are no other plans for restoration like this on campus.”
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.