The most important responsibility of the Board of Trustees is to select the right leader for our university and the entire OSU community.
When the Board of Trustees adjourned last week, we believed it was possible for President Alexander to repair the broken confidence and trust in his ability to lead OSU.
After listening to and hearing important input from diverse members of our community and reflecting on our own values and experiences, we now know that rebuilding trust is no longer possible. In response, over the weekend, the Board scheduled to meet this morning as we learned President Alexander no longer had the confidence of the OSU community. This broken trust was expressed not only by the vote of the Faculty Senate but by an outpouring of thoughtful statements from students, alumni and survivors of sexual assault.
On Sunday, President Alexander offered his resignation, effective April 1. Meeting today in public session, the OSU Board of Trustees voted to accept his resignation as president of Oregon State University.
As we move forward, I want to share three commitments to the OSU community and all Oregonians.
First, the responsibility and accountability for selecting and evaluating the president rests with this board. I pledge to work with the Board to review past procedures and to learn and improve from this experience. We can do better, and we will do better for OSU.
Second, looking ahead, I will ask the Board to consider what best represents an inclusive selection process for future presidents that is informed by what we have learned from this experience and reflects the culture and values of OSU.
Third, in recent years, OSU has made important progress in our Title IX and survivor support programs. This work is never done. There is always room for improvement. We hear and are moved by the courageous survivors who stepped forward to share their experiences of sexual assault and those who have been harmed by recent events and may question the university’s commitment. We support you and will continue to work to earn your trust.
Oregon State University is committed to public higher education and to provide for the prosperity and wellness of all. We serve the needs of Oregonians, our nation and the world and are guided by our values of accountability, transparency and compassion. In everything we do, this university and its board must act with integrity. We admit when we make mistakes, and we always seek to improve. This has been our past for 152 years, and it will continue to be our future.
I thank the OSU Board of Trustees for its decision to accept King Alexander’s resignation, effective April 1.
And I thank the Board of Trustees for its designation of Provost and Executive Vice President Ed Feser as Oregon State University’s acting president. Provost Feser is a seasoned leader, and we are confident that OSU and the university community will be well-served while the Board considers its options regarding interim leadership. He is strongly committed to shared governance, and OSU’s promise to be a welcoming community that has safety as a top priority while fostering inclusion, equity and diversity. He is a champion for students, faculty and staff.
Tomorrow morning at 8, the Board of Trustees’ Executive and Audit Committee will discuss next steps in assessing the university’s Title IX reporting and survivor services. The committee also will discuss next steps to respond to feedback and questions the Board has received from the OSU Faculty Senate. And it will discuss the timeline and process for the appointment of an interim president.
The last few weeks have been a difficult experience for all of us and the entire OSU community. We will learn from this experience, yet we will not let it divide us. Let us heal together. Let us rededicate ourselves to excellence in teaching, student success, research discovery and service engagement.
This is an incredible university and community. Together, we will build on the legacy and strengths of Oregon State University.
OSU Board of Trustees