Wow. My Alma Matter is in the news today: (thanks for the heads-up, Trait!)
Oral Roberts University President Richard Roberts issued a written statement on Wednesday saying he is taking an indefinite leave of absence, following intense scrutiny spawned by financial, political and other allegations raised in a lawsuit.
This announcement comes eight days after Roberts said on national television: “I have not done anything wrong for which I needed to step aside.”
Billy Joe Daugherty, pastor of Victory Christian Center, has been named executive regent and will lead the university while Roberts is on leave, said George Pearsons, chairman of ORU’s board of regents.
On one hand, I’m astonished. For the first time *ever* a non-Roberts is at the helm of the university. Personally, I think it should have been that way from the beginning. But on the other hand, it’s Billy Joe Daugherty — possibly the most like-minded-evangelical-loyalist-minister-from-right-across-the-street they could have found. And apparently, Richard is still living in the mansion, getting paid, and calling the shots for all the related non-university ministries.
Obviously, I’m not qualified to pass judgment on the allegations. Oh, heck with that, yes I am. The deeper they dig in this investigation, the more twisted and illegal activity they’ll find. During my last year at ORU, I was the student body president — I ran on an “anti-administration” platform (because I thought the university was irresponsible with student money, among other things). When I was elected, rather than address the concerns of the students who had put me in office, the administration immediately took steps to isolate me and cut off my access to people and sources of information that were granted to both my predecessors and those who succeeded me. Gee — I wonder why they did that?
I’ve also watched them (and by “them” I mean Lindsay Roberts, who holds no official position in the University) repeatedly fire qualified administrators throughout the years the second they raised any legitimate concerns about the Roberts family. All were immediately replaced by extreme loyalists. I think George W. Bush must’ve studied the leadership and management technique of ORU before he took office. Come to think of it, there are a lot of similarities between Richard and George. Except I think George Bush is more open, honest, and responsible, and oh my God — did I just say that???
I’d better stop before I get too worked up, here. And I was doing so good with my “ORU bitterness recovery” the last few years…
UPDATE: Richard Roberts has officially and permanently resigned, and the board of regents has voted to officially separate (legally and financially) ORU from the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Assocation (basically, the Roberts family ministry organization). This is great news! A new era begins, and I hope ORU will rise to the occasion. You can read up to date coverage here.