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Calvin University Board Reports ‘Concerning and Inappropriate’ Alleged Conduct, President Resigns


Calvin University’s Board of Trustees announced a leadership transition at the school Monday, Feb. 26, after president Wiebe Boer resigned from the position. The board said it accepted the resignation after the university had “received a report alleging that President Wiebe Boer engaged in unwelcome and inappropriate communication and attention toward a non-student member of the campus community” and Boer admitted “to sending communications that were inappropriate and inconsistent with the high standard of conduct and character expected of the President of Calvin University.”

Gregory Elzinga, who was vice president of advancement at Calvin, has been named interim president.

The public announcement said, “The report (against Boer) did not include allegations of sexually explicit communication or physical contact, but the alleged conduct is concerning and inappropriate.” In a Feb 26 email to Calvin community members, the board said, “While we understand the desire to know more specific information, as a Board, we have an obligation to maintain the integrity of our Safer Spaces policy, comply with Title IX and uphold our ongoing commitment to support the complainant. Due to employee privacy considerations, neither Calvin University nor any of its representatives will provide further comment.”

The university’s Safer Spaces policy is posted on its website and “applies to all University community members, including students, employees, faculty, administrators, staff, applicants for admission or employment, and third parties, such as trustees, volunteers, vendors, independent contractors, visitors, and any individuals or entities regularly or temporarily employed, studying, living, visiting, conducting business, interacting with a member or members of our community, or having any official capacity with the University or on University property.”

Calvin was founded by the Christian Reformed Church and has a relationship as an institution in direct partnership with the denomination, but it has its own board, separate from that of the CRCNA. Board trustees are nominated by classes (regional groups of churches) and appointed by synod. The university president used to be appointed by synod as well, but bylaw changes in 2022 (ratified by that year’s synod) changed the process so that the Calvin University board could appoint its president directly.

Boer was named president in 2022 after the retirement of Michael Le Roy. In his tenure as president, Boer was vocal in efforts to maintain strong ties between Calvin and the CRC, calling Calvin "Your University" in presentations to the CRCNA synod and Council of Delegates, underlining that Calvin is the only educational institution with this unique relationship, and participating in CRCNA efforts such as membership in the Global Vision Team, whose report is expected to Synod 2024.

Zachary King, general secretary of the Christian Reformed Church, said strengthening the relationship between the CRCNA and Calvin University “wasn't just President Boer's vision, but the desire of the Calvin board to grow that relationship. I expect and hope that we will continue in that direction as Calvin's mission of Reformed higher education benefits our denomination immensely.”

King said, “We are praying for the Calvin staff, students, faculty and anyone involved in the difficult situation surrounding President Boer's resignation. May the Holy Spirit bring healing and strength to all.”

Interim President Elzinga is a member of Cascade Fellowship CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich., and serves as the vice chair of its council.

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