Statement of Danny Roberts, chairman of Southwestern Seminary Board of Trustees
“In response to the claims of Trustees Aaron Sligar and Andrew Bunnell questioning the integrity of the board leadership and requesting affirmation of their call for a special meeting—even though the vote for a meeting was well short of the required 21 positive votes—the chairman upon the request of the president called a meeting of the full board of trustees, which was held today in executive session. Sligar and Bunnell stated their case. Each of the matters they presented was discussed and evidence or lack thereof was vetted. A task force presented its findings and two staff members whose personal morality was egregiously and baselessly questioned were able to speak and share about the harm that has resulted. In response, the full board has approved the following motions, the first unanimously and the others overwhelmingly:
I move that the Board of Trustees affirms the work of the officers, executive committee, and task force empaneled to examine spending and financial practices of the previous administration as authorized by unanimous vote of the Board during its October 2022 meeting. That the Board further affirms the ongoing work to strengthen financial guardrails recommended by the task force to ensure greater accountability and oversight of the president and other senior administrators. That the Board unambiguously expresses its support and complete confidence in Michele Smith and Colby Adams and finds the allegations contained in the email from Trustees Andrew Bunnell and Aaron Sliger of financial mismanagement and misbehavior amongst those individuals to be without merit. Finally, that the board unreservedly repudiates as unsubstantiated and egregious other rumors trafficked by Trustees Andrew Bunnell and Aaron Sliger made against employees of the Seminary.
I move that the Board of Trustees authorize the officers to publish the audited financials as one comprehensive report for the fiscal years 2003-2022 and examples of presidential expenses as generated by the Task Force review.
I move that the board authorizes the publication of a response to allegations made by trustees Aaron Sligar and Andrew Bunnell.
I move that the Board of Trustees requests that the officers of the board conduct an investigation of possible misconduct by Andrew Bunnell and Aaron Sligar, per bylaw 2.14, and report back to the full board within 60 days.
“I’m grateful for the near-total support of the trustee board. I state publicly and without equivocation my personal repudiation of the allegations made against my colleagues and me, as well as against staff members of the seminary.
“I can state confidently that the board leadership has exercised aggressively its fiduciary duties, with trustees giving collectively thousands of hours of their time in doing so. Financial guardrails have been and continue to be researched and put in place. One example is that the chairman is now examining the expense reports of the president and the Seminary Leadership Team on a quarterly basis.
“As I said in our October 2022 meeting, it was the growing involvement of trustee leadership and our insistence of greater presidential accountability and resistance to our attempts to implement financial safeguards that led to Adam Greenway’s resignation. During that same meeting, a task force was created to carefully examine all expenditures of the institution. During our April 2023 meeting, the task force members made oral reports to the full board in executive session. Board leadership asked Sligar to not raise certain matters that he failed to give proper notice of his intent to raise, some of which were clearly untrue, with others having been inadequately researched, baseless and/or egregiously harmful. On May 20, Sligar and Bunnell emailed these claims, with the unsubstantiated material becoming public several days later by individuals obviously motivated to bring harm on the institution, the board, and certain staff. To send such an email was reckless since it was inevitable that such claims would become public. In today’s meeting, the board heard all the facts and has now acted.
“I condemn in the strongest possible manner the actions of any individual who has participated in spreading these baseless allegations. Such behavior is ungodly and is contrary to the spirit of Southwestern Seminary. Even as they have had to endure these odious attacks, staff have served the seminary faithfully, carrying out their duties with competence and integrity. I am grateful for them, and for their families, as they have remained committed to the mission of Southwestern Seminary.
“I look forward to releasing in the near future the information as approved by the board in motions two and three.
“Under the leadership of President David Dockery, the board of trustees is encouraged about the future of Southwestern Seminary. While significant challenges remain, there are ‘hopeful markers’ for the future, as Dr. Dockery has said. We join with him and the seminary community in his call for prayer for the institution seeking God’s favor (Ps. 90:17) in its vital work of biblically educating and equipping Christian men and women for ministry which encourages the priority of the Great Commandment and the fulfillment of the Great Commission. We ask all Southern Baptists to join us in this prayer.”