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King Resigns From Lyon College – Arkansas Business Online

King Resigns From Lyon College
W. Joseph King 
(Lyon College)

W. Joseph King resigned Thursday as president of Lyon College in Batesville after commenting on regional white supremacist sentiment in a July 26 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

King’s resignation came after a board of trustees meeting yesterday. In a statement to faculty, staff, students and other stakeholders, Chairman Perry Wilson said Provost Melissa Taverner will be the interim president.

“I’m writing to let you know that the Lyon College Board of Trustees has accepted President W. Joseph King’s resignation effective immediately,” Wilson wrote. “We are thankful for Dr. King’s service and guidance during his presidency.”

Wilson said the board was grateful for King’s leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and the college’s work to explore a partnership with the University of the Ozarks. 

King came under fire this week after the article drew attention locally. In it, King was quoted as saying the private liberal arts college is surrounded by an “angry, disenfranchised” citizenry with “a large white-supremacist population,” among other things

King said he was misquoted in some areas, which The Chronicle disputed, offering evidence.

The article prompted Batesville Mayor Rick Elumbaugh, Independence County Judge Robert Griffin and Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Crystal Johnson to send a letter to the Lyon board saying they were “disappointed and shocked” by the article, titled “Managing Political Tensions.”

The three leaders said King’s comments “resulted in overwhelming disdain for his role as a leader in this community and shattered confidence in his ability to represent and lead Lyon College.” They said “confidence in the current administration has been lost,” and urged the board to fire King.

King joined Lyon in 2016, succeeding Donald V. Weatherman, who retired. A Texas native, King previously worked as senior adviser to the president and interim executive director of the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE) at Emory & Henry College Meadowview, Virginia. 

He had also been the NITLE’s executive director and worked at Rice University, Southwestern University, University of Washington and the Texas Christian University Neeley School of Business. At the Neeley School, he was a finalist for “most inspiring professor.”

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