“Americans have always defined true freedom as an environment in which one may resist evil and do what is right, noble, and good without fear of reprisal. It is the presence of justice tempered with mercy. It is a rule of law based on fundamental moral truths that are easily understood and fairly and effectively administered. It offers individuals and families equal opportunity to better their lives morally, spiritually, intellectually, and economically.”
-Steve Forbes, The Moral Basis of a Free Society, Hoover Institution, November 1, 1997
A quick recap of the unfolding of the Anthony Moore/Thomas White scandal over the past ten days:
- On April 23, 2020, Thomas White fired his good friend Anthony Moore.
- On April 24, 2020, Thomas White published an article on his blog detailing his reasons for the firing.
- On April 27, 2020, I published an article exposing some lies in White’s account.
- On April 29, 2020, Julie Roys published an article exposing more lies in White’s account.
- On May 1, 2020, Julie Roys published an article stating that Thomas White had been placed on administrative leave and Loren Reno was replacing him.
- On May 2, 2020, Dee Parsons published an article highlighting some strange policies enacted by White and questioning the wisdom of appointing Reno as White’s replacement.
Today I would like to add my concern to that of “The Wartburg Watch” author, Dee Parsons.
It is clear to me that there has been a toxic culture at Cedarville University since the arrival of Thomas White. I have heard from both students and faculty who have said that they are intimidated by White’s heavy-handed authoritarianism. While I think an independent investigation is called for, the Board of Trustees doesn’t need to wait for the results of the investigation to determine if White needs to be terminated. They have enough evidence available to them to prove White has lied to both them and the public concerning his hiring of Anthony Moore. White should have been terminated on May 1. That he wasn’t I find concerning.
I also have reservations of any Board member who was serving in that capacity at the time of Moore’s hiring. I don’t believe they should have a say in whether White remains in his job or is terminated. While White did not share all he knew with them in his letter of July 3, 2017 concerning the hiring of Moore, he shared enough that red flags should have been raised, causing them to ask more questions and exercise due diligence prior to approving the hiring of Moore. But of course, a truly independent investigation will look into these matters.
I also have reservations about Loren Reno being named as the interim President of CU. White stated in his article of April 24 that:
“During the 2018-19 school year, Anthony did everything that we asked him to do. In early 2019, the Moores moved into their own house and out of campus housing. During that year, Anthony also went through our Leadership Development Program with Gen. Loren Reno. This yearlong program allowed Anthony to continue growing and introduced a new group of Cedarville leaders into his life. He excelled in this program.”
I think it’s crucial to know what Reno knew of Moore’s paraphelia and when did he know it? I am curious to know if, as a Lt. General, Reno would have been comfortable approving a subordinate with this disorder to a leadership position on his Air Force staff?
Additionally, the following comment from the Justice Collective found on the Wartburg Watch causes me great concern:
“Thank you once again for an excellent post that continues to connect all the dots of hypocrisy and ignorance in White’s leadership at Cedarville University. We especially thank you for your work this past week revealing the hostile environment White has created—CU has a culture of fear and intimidation intentionally created by White and enforced by his VPs, especially the VPAs Reno and then Mach. Academic freedom is not an end unto itself and must be used with discernment; however, CU doesn’t allow for academic freedom in any sense of the word. Professors and their curricula—as well as their writing and their students’ writing!—are all tightly controlled. Not even disparate political views are permitted.
Some other things to note:
Although the Trustees put White on leave, they are allowing White to participate in today’s virtual commencement ceremony. We find this disturbing.
We hope and pray the Trustees will be hiring G.R.A.C.E. for the independent investigation they plan to run regarding possible abuses during Moore’s time at CU, but we’re deeply concerned about the way the trustees worded the purpose of that investigation—“to ensure nothing inappropriate” happened. That seems to suggest they won’t ask the investigators to look too hard! That language also doesn’t seem to invite any possible victims to come forward. Why not use language instead like this: “We’re hiring an independent firm to investigate whether any possible sexual abuse occurred between Dr. Moore and students. We’re also asking the firm to investigate whether any behaviors connected to sexual abuse—e.g., grooming, stalking, voyeurism, private communications and meetings, etc.—occurred. If you have any knowledge of such abuse or deviant behavior, we urge you to come forward. We will provide the appropriate contact information soon.” Or something like that. But no, they just want to “ensure nothing happened.” Plus, like White and Reno, the trustees don’t seem to want to use specific terminology. It’ll be interesting to see who they hire for the investigation. (We’re glad Julie Roys has already repeated on one such grooming attempt by Moore; maybe the investigators can start with that situation!)
In addition, the Trustees will rightly ask another firm to investigate the situation of Moore’s hiring. Good. We applaud that! But they seem unconcerned with any deception and cover-ups that happened AFTER Moore was hired. For instance, the many deceptive statements in White’s blog. We hope that investigation will include a 3-year time frame, therefore. We also hope it will focus on people like Jason Lee, Tom Mach, Scott VanLoo, and Loren Reno himself—not to mention basketball coaches who knew—since White says in his blog all of those men were involved in Anthony Moore’s “restoration plan.”
And on that note, let’s say it again: Reno was involved in the execution of Moore’s restoration plan! (He regularly met with Moore to mentor him on “leadership”). How could the trustees put White on leave, thereby not firing him until they run their investigations, but in the same fell swoop appoint Reno as acting president without first running the investigations on his part in all this?! Does Reno get a free pass, then? Such a decision does not inspire trust from parents and prospective students, who are rightfully thinking twice now about sending their high school seniors to this “unsafe” place.
As you also note, Reno has no doctoral degree. In addition, he never taught in higher education until he was given the job as Dean of the School of Business just a few years ago (after his military career had ended, a career, we, too, thank him for). The decision to first hire Reno caused one beloved, veteran business professor, who’d previously won “Faculty Member of the Year,” to resign in protest because Reno lacked the appropriate qualifications for the job. Reno then quickly ascended to the role of VPA under White not because he was qualified but because he was more than willing to become the “hatchet man,” a role he relished. As your source told you, yes, he’d run inquisitions and make decisions contrary to department evaluations and the tenure committee’s recommendations. At the height of such inquisitional behavior, which was always hostile in nature, yes, Reno denied 5 out of 10 professors tenure for no good reason. And yes, he also made other faculty so miserable, they simply left.
For this reason, there is, indeed, a talent drain at CU. Many professors have left for jobs elsewhere (or been forced out—and yes, CU loves requiring NDAs for severance pay). More would leave if they could, but as we all know, full-time, tenure-track jobs in academia are few and far between, especially in the liberal arts. (The liberal arts departments—all of them—have especially suffered.) But the Trustees don’t seem to care.
As you also note, Gen. Reno is the architect of the CU censorship policy. He is also the one who began to enforce it immediately, even retroactively! In our report, we noted how authoritarian he was in enacting and enforcing it. Faculty had no say—and still have no say. We also note how petty he was about enforcing it, going way beyond the scope of the policy. He, too, doesn’t like body parts named. He even censored student creative writing. Thank you for publishing our document about this on Monday.
Therefore, if the Trustees wanted to reassure parents and students, faculty and staff, they would have appointed a gracious and loving person as acting president. Instead, however, they appointed the “hatchet man.” CU employees are beside themselves. The trustees have sent a clear message to them: Shut up. Do what you’re told. Or else.”
It appears the fix may be in to keep White in his position.
Cedarville University – Current Board of Trustees
I and other bloggers, with the assistance of some brave individuals, have been able to bring this scandal to light. We will continue to watch this story, but I feel that if a healthy atmosphere is going to be restored to Cedarville University it will require some heavy lifting be done by the many outstanding individuals who have direct ties to the institution. I am speaking of faculty (current and former), staff, graduates, and current students. Personal risks will need to be taken. Only you can decide whether the potential loss of your job, the risk of not being hired for a new job, or the perceived shame of being expelled as a student are worth the risk. You are fighting for the restoration of the once prestigious name and reputation of Cedarville University. It will be a battle and no battle is without casualties.
As you consider whether to speak up, allow me to introduce you to a brother and sister who have dared risk much more than you or I ever have, or likely ever will. They believe that resisting evil and fighting for what is right and just is worth any sacrifice.
“Don’t be silent, speak out. Be strong and do your work!”
-Alireza Alinejad advice to his sister, Masih Alinejad just prior to his arrest and imprisonment in Iran.
Below is a screenshot taken from the Washington Post. I urge you to go to this link and read the Washington Post account of these two brave individuals. Below the screenshot is a video I have compiled to show you the courage of Alireza and Masih Alinejad. Alireza was arrested shortly after he made the video. He remains in prison. May their lives inspire you to great deeds. I pray that your actions will prove effective in restoring Cedarville to its former stature, and that Truth will again reign supreme.