Official to quit if Roberts returns
BY APRIL MARCISZEWSKI World Staff Writer
Friday, November 16, 2007
6/22/08 at 1:32 AM
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Vote in a poll: Should Richard Roberts return as the president of ORU?
Oral Roberts University's executive vice president of academic affairs and provost offered his resignation to the board of regents on
Thursday if the board decides to
keep Richard Roberts as president.
Mark Lewandowski wrote regents
Chairman George Pearsons that he
"would be pleased to continue to
serve" in his job if Roberts resigns or
is not reinstated, according to his
letter first obtained by The Associated Press.
Roberts has been on a leave of absence as ORU president since Oct.
17 while the board and independent
auditors investigate allegations
made in a lawsuit that he and his
family misused ORU and Oral Roberts Ministries money and resources.
Lewandowski is a defendant in
that lawsuit, which was filed by
three former professors who claim
they were wrongfully fired or forced
The suit alleges Lewandowski impounded plaintiff
and former professor John
Swails' office, confiscated
Swails' personal property, had
him escorted off campus and
had him barred from returning. The lawsuit also claims
that former professor Tim
Brooker was "constructively
discharged" by Lewandowski,
Roberts, another administrator and ORU/Oral Roberts
The lawsuit claims Lewandowski "constructively discharged" an unnamed female
professor who allegedly had
been sexually harassed by defendant and Vice Provost Jeff
Ogle and that Lewandowski
thereafter promoted Ogle.
Ogle has denied the sexual
ORU announced in July that
Lewandowski was its top academic officer. The former
businessman had been the
School of Business dean since
Lewandowski wrote in his
letter to Pearsons that he and "many current administrators
. . . are concerned that the
ORU board of regents with the
exception of a few bold individuals are waffling in their decision making and are considering the reinstatement of
Richard Roberts even in the
face of overwhelming information of a management style
that promotes fear and has
done nothing to address the
increasing debt of the university."
An ORU spokesman said
three weeks ago that the university is $52.5 million in debt.
Lewandowski said in his letter that as provost, he had "begun to be part of the culture of
fear that had been at ORU for
years," and, he wrote, "the faculty, students and staff deserve an opportunity to teach,
learn and work in an environment of peace and loving support."
The board will decide
whether Roberts returns to
the presidency, Pearsons has
said. Roberts remains the
chairman and CEO of Oral
Lewandowski was one of five ORU vice presidents who
wrote in a letter to students,
employees, regents and alumni that "deeply embedded in
the current controversy is the
opportunity for the university
to become even stronger. . . ."
"This is the time that we
must show through our teamwork and leadership that the
university is bigger than any
one person," they wrote. ". . .
We must re-establish our integrity and prove that we are
In a meeting Wednesday,
Roberts told faculty members that he does not want to be
president forever but it would
appear to admit wrongdoing if
he stepped down now, the AP
reported. On Monday night, a
quorum of tenured faculty voted "no confidence" in Roberts
Lewandowski and Pearsons
did not return phone calls and
e-mails Thursday night, and
an ORU spokesman declined
April Marciszewski 581-8475
He says he will
stay if Richard
Roberts leaves as
president of ORU.