“Women should not be forced to accept sexual harassment as the price of admission to a life and career in the political world. They should not have to endure unwanted touching, innuendo, and propositioning from men in positions of power.” J. B. Pritzker
12/14/22 I have linked to two statements by the Stackhouses that they believe will clarify their positions. I leave that up to you.
I11/30/23 I updated the title today to more clearly reflect the situation.
Who is John Stackhouse Jr.?
Many folks in the broader evangelical community will be upset by this revelation. It appears to be a longstanding problem and was first investigated at Regent College in 2014. Here is the “About” section on his website. He is a bit unusual in his presentation. Please read the sections under these headings.
Scholar, Author, Speaker, Consultant, Problem Solver, and Crime Fighter
Here is Wikipedia’s version.
John Gordon Stackhouse Jr. (born 1960) is a Canadian scholar of religion. As a journalist he has been recognized with over a dozen awards by the Canadian Church Press, and his scholarship has been supported by research grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Association of Theological Schools, the Canadian Embassy to the United States, and several other sponsors.
…John Jr. received his higher education in Canada and the United States: after a year at Mount Carmel Bible School in Edmonton, he received a BA (First Class Honours, Queen’s University, Kingston) in history, an MA (with Highest Honors, Wheaton College) in church history and theology (with a thesis supervised by Mark A. Noll), and a PhD (University of Chicago) in the history and theology of Christianity (with a dissertation supervised by Martin E. Marty).
I particularly liked this. It reminds me of that famous statement by Rodney King, “Can we all get along?”
He takes almost equal time to describe this style, revising David Bebbington’s famous definitional quadrilateral to suggest that evangelicalism can be identified by the following sextet of adjectives: Trinitarian, Biblicist, conversionist, missional, pragmatic, and populist. In doing so, Stackhouse attempts to show how Nigerian indigenous Christians, Korean Presbyterians, Brazilian Pentecostals, and Canadian Mennonites can plausibly all be called by the same term—in distinction from conservative and liberal alternative styles.
Stackhouse is accused of inappropriate behavior at Crandall University and allegedly was investigated while at Regent.
CBC (Canada) reports: Christian university severs ties with prof after investigation into allegations of inappropriate behaviour. The following statement is essential.
Stackhouse came to Crandall in 2015 after a 17-year tenure at Regent College in Vancouver. He taught numerous classes at Crandall including two mandatory courses for students, one called the Christian Way and another on ethics.
I bet some of you thought, “Why did he leave Regent after 17 years?” Good question. It appears he was investigated at Regent College for similar behavior. For example, when asked, before his appointment to Crandall, if there had ever been any complaints against him at his previous institution, he replied:
There was an investigation in 2014 focusing on his behavior. There was reportedly a settlement reached at Regent. Regent said it couldn’t discuss the issue, and it appears there might have been an NDA. It appears that Regent was not advised to report his behavior to Crandall. This behavior was seen in many churches as well as Christian institutions. For example, SEBTS and The Summit Church will not comment on Bruce Ashford.
The following video covers both the Crandall University firing and information on Regent College.
Crandall University summarizes actions ending with the termination of John Stackhouse.
Crandall University, an independent liberal arts university, with an enrolment of more than 1,400 students, has terminated the employment of Dr. John G. Stackhouse Jr., a professor and member of Crandall’s faculty. Dr. Stackhouse received notice of termination today after a comprehensive, six-month, investigation.
…(ed. Leadership at Crandall) expressed the institution’s deepest regret to all of its students, and particularly to any student or students who were made to feel threatened, diminished, or victimized by the words or actions of a faculty member. “Paramount at Crandall University is the safety and security of its students. We cannot and will not tolerate behaviour from its administration, faculty, or staff that in any way violates the University’s mission and identity,” they said.
…The work of the investigation involved confidential material relating to students, faculty, and staff, most of whom were not the subject of the investigation. It also involved details pertaining to confidential personnel matters. “A vitally important guideline for the investigation was to protect the identity and security of anyone who may have been the subject of, or involved with, inappropriate conversations or behaviour, or may otherwise have been reluctant to share information,” said Ms. Cummings.
The following is a mea culpa over the university’s harassment policies or the lack thereof.
The investigation and the subsequent employment action conclude this incident, but clearly all of us at Crandall must work very hard to ensure that we maintain this very special University community at the highest standards. As the report to the Board recommends, our next step will be to focus on strengthening our harassment policies with input from our students and other members of our University community.”
The findings of the investigation into this matter by Crandall University
The following is the report of the inquiry:
Summary of Findings from Pink Larkin Report on Allegations of Improper Conduct at Crandall University, presented to the Crandall University Board of Governors on November 15th, 2023. The following are included in the report. I strongly suggest reading the entire document.
…(A student) contacted the investigator by email in June of 2023. She had questions for him “with the intent of potentially sharing some information.” She verbally shared the contents of some emails sent to her by (the faculty member) over a period of approximately seven months, which sounded, to the investigator, quite inappropriate. After a review of the “100 pages or so” of emails, permission was obtained from (the student) to share the emails with (the faculty member) and with Crandall, and to use them as needed in this investigation.
The investigator noted that (the student) did not engage in, or otherwise encourage, what he referred to as “the inappropriate banter” during these seven months.
According to the report, (the faculty member) does not dispute having written these emails. His response, according to the report, was:
This episode of email banter over of a two-year relationship was inappropriate, unhealthy, unbecoming of a professor and he would not defend it. It cannot be defended; It was inappropriate; It was something of an aberration from a long career; These were extreme circumstances that will not reoccur;… (and additional comments of explanation)
The investigator concluded that while it is true that (the faculty member) stopped sending such email messages on his own and he did not behave in person with (the student) in a manner akin to his written messages, the investigator found that this is “a classic case” of grooming – to use an expression (the faculty member) alluded to himself in one email to (the student). The investigator said that it is entirely possible that (the faculty member) corrected his behavior because it proved to be ineffective; he moved on
…Many years ago, two other incidents came to Crandall’s attention.
One involved inappropriate behavior involving a student by a professor off campus and was not reported quickly. When it was finally reported, it was dealt with through the policy outlined in the University’s Harassment Policy – the student received counseling and ultimately the professor’s contract was not renewed.
…The investigator states: “I believe he is deserving of severe disciplinary action. Crandall needs to move quickly on this, and its actions need to be as transparent as the law on fairness and confidentially allow.
Here is an anonymous Instagram account discussing student-reported incidents.
According to this report, Stackhouse apparently dated a student and then married her. When did he get a divorce from his first wife?
This may be an important observation. I noted that he rarely mentioned his family in his bios, etc. It now appears that he was divorced since he was able to remarry.
Dating a Student
It has been alleged that (the faculty member) dated a student. (The faculty member) claims to have recently married a person who was once his student at Crandall. According to both (the faculty member) and the interviewee (the former student), their romantic relationship began in the Summer or late Summer of 2022. (The interviewee) was also (the faculty member’s) student in courses taken in the Fall of 2020, in the Winter of 2021, and in the Winter of 2022. (The interviewee’s) last course with (the faculty member) ended in April 2022. By that time, a friendship had blossomed between them, and he had retained her to do some work for him (activities unrelated to Crandall).
The investigator reviewed numerous emails exchanged between (the faculty member) and (the interviewee), which were provided by (the faculty member) at the investigator’s request. The investigator stated that he cannot be certain that (the faculty member) has not omitted some communications which might have provided some indication that there romance had begun before they both said it did. The emails reviewed do not support the contention that they were “dating” or had begun a romantic relationship when she was his student.
Based on the information outlined above, the investigator would not conclude that this situation, from a legal perspective, demonstrates misconduct on the part of (the faculty member).
The following was a report on Crandall’s University harassment policies
I have included just a few of the suggestions. Please read the entire report. Recommendations for Review and Updating of Crandall University’s Harassment Policy and Procedures
…The Policy should be clear to the effect that harassment (sexual or otherwise) and abuse of authority are not tolerated. This message should be conveyed and reiterated by way of regular employee (and student) training and visual reminders.
…Crandall now has its own in-house counsellors. The University should ensure they have the necessary competence and training to assist those who have been traumatized by abusive conduct;
Crandall should ensure that advice is given, and investigations are conducted, by persons who are culturally competent and competent in a trauma-informed approach;
Anonymous complaints should be permitted, and, where appropriate, investigated;
….The recommendations suggest that Crandall needs to ensure there is a rigorous process in place where all student evaluations that flag inappropriate behaviours, or even border-line inappropriate behaviours, are properly documented, and where appropriate, followed up upon.
- The hundred+ emails received by one student, who reportedly did not want them, appear to be a case of possible grooming. “One student provided the investigator with “100 pages or so” of emails sent to her by the professor over seven months.”
- Did a signed NDA prevent Regent from telling Crandall about his behavior?
- Did Stackhouse lie when asked by Crandall if he had any history of being accused of sexual harassment?
- Although the charges are vague, there seem to be quite a few of them.
- When one is fired or asked to leave by two universities/colleges, something is wrong.
- Stackhouse was well-liked by many. I was among that many.
- I am not familiar with the judicial system in Canada. Could civil suits be brought against Stackhouse or the university?
- I noted that he rarely mentioned his wife and sons in his bios. I do not have a date for his divorce from his first wife. That was sure kept quiet.
- He apparently divorced, then dated, and married a student in 2022. Yikes! Wife #2 should be concerned.
- Something is going on here. If the reports are to be believed, his behavior hasn’t changed in years. That means he will likely continue to follow his usual patterns of conduct. In other words, if he is a groomer, he will groom.