LINCOLN UNIVERSITY president Robert Jennings resigned yesterday amid criticism over comments he made about sexual assault earlier this semester.
The university announced Jennings' departure in a statement from board of trustees chairwoman Kimberly Lloyd. A university spokeswoman said the resignation is immediate, but she would not provide a reason.
Valerie Harrison, the school's general counsel, will serve as acting president while the trustees look for a long-term replacement.
Jennings, who led the historically black university in rural Chester County since January 2012, made controversial comments on Sept. 16 during the university's annual women-only convocation. A portion of his remarks were videotaped and posted on YouTube, and some viewed them as blaming women for sexual assault. Shortly thereafter, the board of trustees said it would conduct an internal review of his presidency.
Jennings was also the subject of recent no-confidence votes by faculty and the alumni association, the Inquirer reported. Faculty members complained about declining enrollment, a shrinking endowment and poor financial ratings, according to the paper.
Harrison, who joined the university's leadership team in 2013, previously served as vice president of Legal Affairs and General Counsel at Arcadia University and as assistant university counsel at Temple University, where she was also an adjunct professor.
Harrison, in a statement published on Lincoln's website, said she plans to increase engagement among faculty, staff, students, parents and alumni. She announced that Juliana Mosley, vice president of student affairs, will lead a new Sexual Misconduct Task Force.
"Lincoln's students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents are a vital part of the University family," read part of Harrison's statement. "In the same way that families come together in times of transition, let us draw closer, united by our concern for students and the future of Lincoln."