Wheaton College chaplain fired for "inappropriate" sexual, racial comments
Wheaton College President Philip Ryken said in an email to students and faculty Friday that chaplain Timothy Blackmon has been fired for "inappropriate comments and actions of a racial and sexual nature" toward staff members.
Blackmon, the sixth chaplain in the college's history, "did not engage in sexually immoral relationships or physical sexual misconduct," Ryken added in his email.
Efforts to reach Blackmon, 50, who was hired in 2015, were not immediately successful. He did not respond to a Facebook message, and his Twitter account did not allow direct messages.
Ryken wrote in his email that the college hired "external professionals" to investigate allegations against Blackmon.
"The investigation revealed conduct inconsistent with Wheaton's policies and commitments. Following this investigation and adjudication, as well as a trustee review process, Tim Blackmon is no longer employed at Wheaton College," the email read. "Because of the unique role of the Chaplain as one of Wheaton's primary spiritual leaders, we believe it is important to share this information with the campus community. In deference to the confidentiality of multiple parties in a personnel process, though, we do not plan to provide additional information beyond this message and encourage our community to respect the privacy of the individuals involved."
Joseph Moore, spokesman for the college, said Friday there would be no additional comment from the evangelical Christian college.
Ryken's email did not detail a timeline for the investigation or specify Blackmon's actual termination date.
Ryken said he would soon name an interim chaplain for the 2020-21 school year, and that concerned students may email firstname.lastname@example.org to be connected to someone from the chaplain's office within 24 hours.
"We recognize that this is painful news," the email concluded. "As our community experiences brokenness, we also recognize our ongoing need of restoration and reconciliation. We lament this situation and pray for all who have been affected by these events, as well as for Reverend Blackmon and his family."
Blackmon is a Netherlands native and a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
On March 19, he wrote a pastoral letter to the Wheaton College campus community about the COVID-19 pandemic. That letter has since been removed from the college's website.