Lincoln University president Robert R. Jennings announced his resignation on Monday after statements that some critics interpreted as blaming women for sexual assault.
The university says it will form a task force on sexual misconduct and is reaching out to faculty, students and parents to improve relations.
Board Chair Kimberly A. Lloyd, who announced Jennings’ departure in an e-mail to the campus, declined through a spokesman to comment on the reasons or say whether Jennings received a financial payout.
State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas, a Philadelphia legislator, said fellow board members had “a whole list of concerns,” but Jennings’ comments about sexual assault at an all-women’s convocation on campus in September were “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
The comments – a portion of which were posted in a YouTube video – were “out of time, out of line, and out of character,” Thomas said. “As a president of a university, you should not have those kinds of conversations with men or women.”
Jennings, 63, who had led the historically black university since January 2012, did not return a call for comment.
His resignation took effect immediately. The university’s general counsel, Valerie Harrison is acting president while Lincoln searches for a long-term permanent replacement.
In Jennings’ speech, he said, “We have, we had, on this campus last semester three cases of young women who, after having done whatever they did with young men and then it didn’t turn out the way they wanted it to turn out, guess what they did? They went to Public Safety and said, ‘He raped me.’ ”
Jennings continued to say such allegations can ruin a young man’s life: “Don’t put yourself in a situation that would cause you to be trying to explain something that really needs no explanation had you not put yourself in that situation.”
He said he was referring to three cases in which women falsely reported rapes as revenge against men who had been unfaithful.
But Michael Noone, first assistant district attorney in Chester County, said he could find no evidence to back up the president’s assertion.
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