Oregon State University president F. King Alexander has resigned amid backlash related to his role in the sexual misconduct saga at Louisiana State University, where he previously served as president.
The OSU board of trustees met and accepted his resignation Tuesday. The move is effective as of April 1. Last week, the board voted to place Alexander on probation.
“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,” board chair Rani Borkar said in a statement. “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.”
An independent investigation released earlier this month into allegations of sexual misconduct at LSU found a “serious institutional failure” and detailed systemic failures by LSU to appropriately report incidents of athletics-related sexual misconduct and abuse.
Former LSU athletic director Joe Alleva recommended in 2013 that Les Miles be fired as head coach of the football program after accusations of inappropriate behavior with female student workers, according to the report, which revealed that Alexander knew of the allegations against Miles when he was hired as president in 2013.
Alexander left LSU at the end of 2019 and started in his role at OSU in July 2020.
After Alexander was placed on probation last week, calls for his termination escalated, including a vote from the OSU faculty senate on Thursday asking for Alexander and several members of the board of trustees to resign.
According to the investigative report, which was handled by Husch Blackwell, Alleva sent an email on June 21, 2013, to LSU’s legal counsel and Alexander. Alleva wrote, “one more time I want us to think about which scenario is worse for LSU. Explaining why we let him go or explaining why we let him stay.”
According to the Corvallis Gazette-Times, Alexander has said that he was advised by attorneys not to fire Miles and that he was unable to dismiss him because the LSU governing board had made the decision to retain Miles before Alexander took office.