United Methodists cite racism in Colorado seminary president's retirement

Posted: Friday, November 12, 2004

DENVER (AP) A United Methodist Church panel charged that ''institutional racism'' was a major factor in the retirement of the first Hispanic president of Iliff School of Theology.

The panel said the Rev. David Maldonado Jr., who left as president in May after four years, encountered ''a culture of suspicion that did not acknowledge or allow for cultural differences.''

Maldonado had written trustees that teachers resisted his leadership, accused him of being too conservative or moderate in theology, or said he did ''not fit'' or was ''culturally different.''

According to the report, Iliff trustees treated Maldonado unfairly and some trustees asked him to retire without authorization.

The report also said administrators and faculty were subjected to racial and ethnic intimidation and sometimes ''marginalized,'' but offered no specifics. The team also suggested faculty, staff and students might face retribution if they complained.

The team said the school could lose some church funding if it fails to act. Last year the Methodist educational fund supplied $900,000 of the school's $5.14 million budget.

The Rev. J. Philip Wogaman, Iliff's interim president, said the trustees expect to have the recommendations implemented before the team returns in six months.

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