Calvin University president resigns over ‘unwelcome, inappropriate’ behavior

The chapel at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The chapel at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. | Wikimedia Commons/Ejd24

Calvin University President Wiebe Boer has resigned following allegations of engaging in "unwelcome and inappropriate" behavior.

In a statement posted Monday, the Michigan-based Christian institution's Board of Trustees announced that Boer offered his resignation after it received a report alleging he "engaged in unwelcome and inappropriate communication and attention toward a non-student member of the campus community."

Stressing that "the report did not include allegations of sexually explicit communication or physical contact," the university insists that "the alleged conduct is concerning and inappropriate."

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"Upon receiving the report, we immediately engaged outside experts to ensure that Calvin University responded to the report in compliance with our policy and legal requirements, including Title IX," the statement added.

"After being notified of the report, Dr. Boer denied some of the allegations but did admit to sending communications that were inappropriate and inconsistent with the high standard of conduct and character expected of the President of Calvin University."

Calvin University appointed Vice President of Advancement Gregory Elzinga as interim president while the Board of Trustees searches for a permanent replacement for Boer. Elzinga is praised for his "deep well of skills and experience in and outside of Calvin" and his "equally deep knowledge and dedication to the institution."

Located in Grand Rapids, Calvin University was founded as Calvin College and Seminary in 1876, nearly 20 years after the formation of the Christian Reformed Church with which it is affiliated. It officially changed its name to Calvin University in 2019.

The school, which has an enrollment of 3,364 students, seeks to equip students "to think deeply, to act justly, and to live wholeheartedly as Christ's agents of renewal in the world." 

Boer was appointed Calvin's president in March 2022. Born in Jos, Nigeria, to Christian Reformed missionary parents, Boer graduated from Calvin in 1997.

At the time of his appointment, Calvin Board of Trustees Vice Chair Mary Tuuk Kuras praised Boer's "academic grounding, strong sense of social justice, and depth of experience in the private and social sectors." He began his tenure as Calvin's 12th president in the summer of 2022.

After Boer assumed the presidency, Calvin University's Board of Trustees voted to allow staff members of the school to publicly disagree with the Christian Reformed Church's doctrinal positions on human sexuality, including its opposition to same-sex marriage.

The vote, which took place just months after Boer's arrival at Calvin in November 2022, came in response to pressure from theologically progressive faculty and students who identify as members of the LGBT community.

In a statement to The Christian Post at the time, a university spokesperson maintained that faculty will still have to "adhere to the university's expectations for teaching and personal conduct that honor the church's position."

The spokesperson added, "The Board characterized its decision as respectful of the university's covenantal partnership with the [Christian Reformed Church of North America], consistent with confessional commitment, congruent with existing policies and procedures, supportive of academic freedom, and reflective of constructive engagement."

Before becoming Calvin's president, Boer was the chief executive officer of the Shell-funded, Nigeria-based renewable energy investment company All-On. During Boer's first week as president, Calvin University signed a memorandum of understanding with the Carmel, Indiana-based SunFundED to pursue Solar-as-a-Service energy as part of a transition to solar energy on campus. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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