Faculty reject Roberts
BY Staff and Wire Reports
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
11/20/07 at 11:19 AM
For complete ORU lawsuit coverage
Vote in a poll: Should Richard Roberts return as the president of ORU?
A new survey of ORU faculty shows that most
don't want Richard Roberts to remain as president.
More than 80 percent of the Oral
Roberts University faculty do not
want Richard Roberts to continue
as president of the evangelical
school, a new survey shows.
The overwhelming "no" vote was
part of a larger, eight-question survey conducted twice during Monday's faculty assembly and obtained
by The Associated Press. It included vote tallies for each question and
the percentage of faculty members
voting each way.
The survey comes a week after
tenured faculty voted "no confidence" in Roberts as president, regardless of the outcome of a lawsuit
that accuses him and his family of
misusing ORU and Oral Roberts
Ministries money and resources.
Roberts is on a leave of absence
as president while ORU's board and
independent auditors investigate
the allegations. After the investigations, the board will decide if Roberts returns to the presidency.
Accusations of lavish spending
were detailed in a wrongful
termination lawsuit filed Oct. 2
by three former ORU professors.
An ORU professor who
wished to remain anonymous
told the Tulsa World on Monday that faculty gathered for
their monthly meeting and responded to survey questions
regarding the issues that accreditation representatives
raised this month: governance, fiscal accountability
Although the faculty have
met several times with ORU's
regents, they wanted to provide the board with statistics
on professors' views of how
the university is doing, the
About 150 full-time faculty,
including no one above the
level of department chairman
or chairwoman, completed the
survey, the professor said.
Roberts and Provost Mark Lewandowski asked to attend
the meeting but were not allowed.
The professor declined to
detail the survey's responses
or even the questions, wanting
regents to have a chance to
process the results before the
information was made public.
But according to the survey
obtained by the AP, nearly 90
percent of the faculty thought
the school's current procedures for financial disclosure
and accountability were inadequate, and more than 74 percent of those polled did not believe that alumni would
continue to support ORU if
Richard Roberts remains president.
Additionally, a majority of
faculty members thought university administrators, such as
the president, deans and department chairs, should be
evaluated yearly by the faculty
and that faculty should be involved in determining the selection criteria for, and selection of, the school's president.
An ORU spokesman declined to comment on the results late Monday.
Two surveys were taken at
the meeting. In the first "pre-survey," nearly 78 percent of
faculty members said they believed that Richard Roberts
should not continue as president, and about 16 percent
After the first survey, tenured faculty members discussed the three motions they
passed last week: the "no confidence" vote against Richard
Roberts; a vote of "confidence"
in Lewandowski, the school's
executive vice president for
academic affairs and provost,
"with regard to his call for
greater faculty governance
and transparency of university
finances;" and the desire of
the faculty to have a greater
role in how university leadership is selected.
After the discussion, the fac
ulty were polled again.
The "post-survey" revealed
that more than 80 percent of
faculty members believed that
Roberts should not continue
as president, while nearly 12
percent were still undecided.
"When it's that overwhelming of a vote, when does Richard start thinking more about
the needs of the university
than his own needs?" asked
Tulsa attorney Gary Richardson, who is representing the
three professors in their lawsuit against ORU. "What does
the vote have to be?"
The lawsuit against Roberts
includes allegations of a
$39,000 shopping tab at one
store for Richard Roberts'
wife, Lindsay Roberts; a
$29,411 Bahamas senior trip
on the university jet for one of
the Roberts' daughters and a
stable of horses for the Roberts children.
Richard and Lindsay Roberts have denied wrongdoing
and Richard Roberts has said
the lawsuit amounts to "intimidation, blackmail and extortion."
Last week, Lewandowski offered to resign in a letter to Regents Chairman George Pearsons, saying he cannot "in
good conscience serve under
(Roberts') leadership," and
wants the board to vote on his
offer at its Nov. 27 meeting.
Lewandowski's letter described a "culture of fear" promoted by Roberts' management style and said Roberts
has not addressed ORU's increasing debt.
regents will rule on
whether he returns.