The president of Northern Seminary, an Illinois institution with Baptist roots, resigned after he was accused of bullying and retaliating against employees, particularly women, which resulted in some employee departures, Baptist News Global reported. The seminary put him on leave last month and launched an internal investigation into his behavior.
William Shiell, the former president, reportedly defended himself in his resignation letter.
“I have done everything in my power to prevent the kind of abuse of authority that has been publicly alleged about my character and leadership,” he wrote. “I am very grateful that in January, the board’s independent investigator concluded that there have been no financial improprieties or grounds for claims of misogyny, racism or discrimination.”
The Board of Trustees also sent a campuswide message commending Shiell’s legacy, according to Baptist News Global.
“We affirm his deep commitment to women in leadership and racial justice,” the board said in the letter.
Some employees at the seminary felt otherwise.
Tommy Lee, executive director of the seminary’s Grow Center for Church and Mission, wrote to the institution’s board and threatened to shut down the center’s operations if Shiell was allowed to continue as president.
“When things go wrong, he throws people under the bus. When anyone dares to challenge him, he belittles them,” Lee told Baptist News Global in February. “If it was anyone else, we would fire that person. He’s become an embarrassment; let him go.”
The board named John Bowling, former president of Olivet Nazarene University, acting president while Shiell was on leave. He will continue to serve in the role until a new president is selected.