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University Senate investigates seminary president’s abrupt departure

 


University Senate investigates seminary president’s abrupt departure

June 30, 2004      

NASHVILLE (UMNS)—The United Methodist Church’s academic accreditation agency will investigate the circumstances surrounding the recent departure of the president of Iliff School of Theology in Denver.

The denomination’s University Senate announced June 30 that it would conduct a two-pronged investigation. The first element will focus on the resignation of the Rev. David Maldonado Jr. in cooperation with the church’s Commission on Religion and Race. The second will comprehensively review the institution.

Maldonado, 61, is the first Hispanic to head a United Methodist seminary. He abruptly retired May 26 after serving as president since June 2000 and days before the 2004 graduation ceremonies.

Members of the theological school’s board of trustees requested that the churchwide Commission on Religion and Race and the University Senate investigate questions of racism and other issues.

The senate, established in 1882, is one of the oldest accrediting bodies in the country. Its mission was to ensure that schools, colleges and universities related to the church were worthy of carrying the denomination’s name. In recent years, regional bodies have accredited academic institutions, and the senate has focused more on how institutions are related to the United Methodist Church.

Henry N. Tisdale, president of Claflin University in Orangeburg, S.C., who also serves as president of the University Senate, released the statement announcing the investigation.

“The University Senate of the United Methodist Church has the responsibility to support the development of institutions whose aims are to address and whose programs reflect significant educational, cultural, societal and human issues in a manner reflecting the values held in common by the institutions and the United Methodist Church.

“In light of this mandate, the University Senate will conduct an investigation on the recent departure of the president of Iliff School of Theology, and a comprehensive institutional review in collaboration with the General Commission on Religion and Race.

“The purpose of this activity is to ‘clear the air,’ thus assisting Iliff School of Theology to move forward with integrity. The University Senate recognizes the important role that Iliff School of Theology plays in developing leadership for the United Methodist Church, and by this action, seeks to strengthen its capacity to do so.”

Tisdale said Maldonado, a member of the University Senate, will not participate in the Senate’s investigation.


*The University Senate provided information for the above article.

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