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Lyon College president resigns amid controversial comments about the Batesville community

WikiMedia Commons
Lyon College in Batesville

Lyon College President Joseph King resigned from his position on Thursday after being accused of making controversial remarks to a reporter about the Batesville community.

The school posted in a statement on their website that the college's Board of Trustees had accepted King's resignation effective immediately. The statement went on to praise King for his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and his other contributions to the college.

King said in a July article to the Chronical of Higher Education that the private college in Batesville is in a "bubble of inclusion and of diversity surrounded by a sea of angry, disenfranchised populations and a large white-supremacist population."

King released a statement on Facebook on Aug. 21 attempting to clarify his statement. He said that while Batesville was inclusive and welcoming, "we cannot pretend to expect the same in all areas of the state."

In the same statement, King also said the publication misquoted a statement he made about a 2020 pro-Trump rally that did not happen. He said he was working with the publication to get it corrected.

Batesville Mayor Rick Elumbaugh, Independence County Judge Robert Griffin, and Crystal Johnson, CEO of the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce had submitted a letter to the college's Board of Trustees calling for King's removal following the remarks.

The college had announced that Provost Melissa Taverner will serve as the interim president. Lyon College Chairman called Taverner "passionate", saying that she is "ready to continue our most important work, which is providing an excellent liberal arts education to our students to prepare them for their futures."