GREENVILLE, S.C. (BP) — North Greenville University officials have been asked to appear before the South Carolina Baptist Convention Executive Board Oct. 13 to explain the university’s actions surrounding the departure of its former president, Jimmy Epting, in January.
Dwight Easler, SCBC Executive Board chairman, has asked the university’s board chairperson and vice chairperson, along with the interim president, to attend the fall meeting of the Executive Board in order to “give explanation of actions taken, and future actions to be taken to improve accountability and processes.”
In a Sept. 3 letter to Executive Board members, Easler said he and Richard Harris, interim SCBC executive director-treasurer, met for two hours with NGU leaders Aug. 31 and asked them to “address … the many rumors about what has transpired at NGU.”
“We are engaged and very concerned about this situation,” Easler, pastor of Corinth Baptist Church in Gaffney, wrote. “We want to assure you that we desire godly integrity, appropriate accountability, cooperation and healthy collaboration with our universities.”
Easler said the Executive Board will delay payment of Cooperative Program funds to North Greenville until the board’s budget and finance committee can determine an “appropriate recommendation” to the board.
Easler said Executive Board leaders will have “other dialogues and meetings” with NGU until the full Executive Board meets.
The university announced in January that Epting would take a sabbatical for the remainder of the school year and would retire at the end of the semester. A video titled “Epting Exposed” surfaced on YouTube on Aug. 27, raising questions about the circumstances that led to Epting’s departure. It was unclear who posted the video.
The same day the video became public, NGU’s board of trustees issued a statement that the school’s leaders “are expected to lead Christ-centered lives” and that current administrative staff and faculty members reflect the Baptist university’s “legal, moral and ethical expectations” and are held to “the highest of standards.”
Epting’s 23-year tenure as North Greenville’s president began in 1991 when he was named the seventh president of the school, located in Tigerville, S.C., just north of Greenville.
The full text of the letter from Easler to the SCBC Executive Board follows:
Many of you have contacted me about the ongoing situation at North Greenville University. We are engaged and very concerned about this situation. We are in discussions with the leadership of North Greenville University in regards to the departure of Dr. Epting, especially in light of the recent video that was placed by someone on YouTube. As your Executive Board chairman, I want to update you on some actions we are taking:
1. On Monday, August 31, Dr. Richard Harris and I met for over two hours with the interim president, the NGU Trustee Chairman and Vice Chairman. We asked them to address actions they have taken, actions they plan to take and the many rumors about what has transpired at NGU.
2. I have also asked these three NGU leaders to come to our full Executive Board meeting on October 13 to give explanation of actions taken, and future actions to be taken to improve accountability and processes. At this meeting there will be an opportunity for you to ask your own questions.
We will continue to have other dialogues and meetings with NGU until the full board meets. Until we can conduct the full Executive Board Meeting in October, Marshall Blalock, the Budget and Finance Chairman, has authorized the delay of payments to North Greenville until the full Budget and Finance Committee can determine an appropriate recommendation to the Executive Board. We want to assure you that we desire godly integrity, appropriate accountability, cooperation and healthy collaboration with our universities.