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Dartmouth Rescinds an Appointment Over Past Comments on Homosexuality

Dartmouth College has withdrawn the appointment of the dean of its William Jewett Tucker Foundation, after revelations of his past comments on homosexuality caused a controversy on the campus.

The college announced last month that it had appointed the Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga, the Anglican bishop of Southern Malawi, to serve as the dean of the Tucker Foundation, which, according to its mission statement, “educates Dartmouth students for lives of purpose and ethical leadership, rooted in service, spirituality, and social justice.”

Some critics took issue with Bishop Tengatenga’s opposition in 2003 to the consecration of the Rev. V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay priest, as the Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, according to The Valley News.

After his appointment as the Tucker foundation’s dean was announced, Bishop Tengatenga issued a written statement pledging that he “unequivocally and categorically” considered all people equal “regardless of their sexual orientation.”

Philip J. Hanlon, Dartmouth’s president, said in a statement released on Wednesday that he had recently met with Bishop Tengatenga and asked him “tough questions” about his earlier statements. Mr. Hanlon said Bishop Tengatenga had described in “passionate terms” his commitment to gay rights.

“However, following much reflection and consultation with senior leaders at Dartmouth, it has become clear to me that Dr. Tengatenga’s past comments about homosexuality and the uncertainty and controversy they created have compromised his ability to serve effectively as dean of Tucker,” Mr. Hanlon said.

He added that the controversy had revealed a “lack of clarity” surrounding the foundation’s mission. He noted that while the ambiguity was not new, the foundation’s mission needed to be clarified before a new dean could be appointed. He said he had asked a campus official to convene a task force to make recommendations about the foundation’s structure and mission.

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