Bryan Trustee Resigns Over President's Actions

May 8, 2017

A trustee has resigned from the board of Bryan College, a small Christian college in Dayton, Tenn., over his concerns with the president’s actions, The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.

Wayne Cropp’s resignation is just the latest disturbance attributable to Stephen Livesay, the president of Bryan College.

Eight trustees resigned in 2014, around the time the faculty overwhelmingly voted no confidence in Livesay. The next year, the college changed its requirements so that it became extremely difficult to call a faculty meeting. In the years since, four vice presidents and many faculty members have also left the university.

Cropp is a graduate of Bryan and had served on the board for almost a decade. Several people told the Times Free Press that he was the only trustee who tried to hold Livesay accountable. Cropp resigned because he could not tolerate the administration’s lack of transparency and the president’s conflicts of interest, he said.

"I have come to conclude that I have not been effective, and cannot be effective in the future, in holding the leadership of Bryan College accountable to certain principles that I consider important for a not-for-profit institution and especially a Christian institution," Cropp wrote in his resignation letter.

In his letter, Cropp mentioned the transfer of land worth $6.9 million from the National Association of Christian Athletes to Bryan College.

Livesay was chairman of the NACA board and named so many Bryan trustees to serve on it that they soon made up a majority. When the board voted to transfer the land to Bryan last summer, Cropp voted against it and acknowledged Livesay’s conflict of interest. Because of the land transfer, Livesay was able to show a major asset boost in his performance review, which included an examination of the college’s financial state.

"But for the transfer of NACA property to Bryan College in June 2016, Bryan College would have finished the year with a deficit," Cropp wrote in his letter.

The university did not return a request for comment from Inside Higher Ed.

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