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College Chief Quits Amid GPA Flap

October 12, 2002|From Associated Press

SHELBY, N.C. — The president of a small Baptist university resigned Friday after coming under fire from students and alumni for tampering with the grade point average of a star basketball player two years ago.

Christopher White, president of Gardner-Webb University since 1986, admitted at a Sept. 10 faculty meeting that he had ordered that an F on the player's record be left out in calculating his average.

Professors took a 63-39 vote of no confidence in White. But the board of trustees, meeting Sept. 27, announced that it would keep White while demoting two deans who criticized him.

Since then, many of the college's 3,500 students protested almost daily, instructors taught in black to symbolize the death of the school's honor code, and alumni criticized the president. Three professors resigned in protest, including one for whose grandparents the school was named.

"This is clearly the most wrenching decision I have ever made, but one I must make in the best interests of helping the university move away from the pain and divisiveness of recent weeks," White said in his resignation letter.

"I am sorry that what I did two years ago, out of fairness to a student, has led to such turmoil and controversy," he wrote.

White said he ordered the change in Carlos Webb's GPA because another school official gave him bad advice about how to improve his average.

The altered GPA allowed Webb, the basketball team's leading scorer in 1999, to remain eligible in 2000, the year Gardner-Webb won the National Christian College Athletic Assn. championship.

"It's embarrassing. It's shameful. The saddest thing is that the name of God is getting dragged through the mud because of one man," junior Amanda Houser said.

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