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Ohio college trustee removed from day job after telling woman to stay with abusive spouse

A trustee at a local college was let go from his day job today as the president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary following controversial comments he made years ago.

Paige Patterson, one of 28 members of Cedarville University’s board of trustees, has been removed from his post as the leader of the seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, according to a statement released this morning from the seminary.

“After much prayer and a more than 13-hour discussion regarding challenges facing the institution, including those of enrollment, financial, leadership and institutional identity, the board determined to move in the direction of new leadership for the benefit of the future mission of the seminary,” the statement reads.

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Patterson is still listed as a trustee on Cedarville University’s website, but an online petition calling for his removal had more than 200 signatures as of Wednesday morning.  This news organization has reached out to the university for comment and to find out if Patterson will remain a member of the board of trustees.

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“We are of the mind that Dr. Patterson should not have any leadership role due to these comments, but especially not one that serves to shape the hearts and minds of young people,” the online petition states.

Patterson will become “president emeritus” of the seminary, a position which was not described in the statement. Patterson came under fire nationally over the last few weeks for comments he made about women 18 years ago.

His comments, made in 2000, were not widely circulated until recently. The comments have been re-examined in light of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and abuse.

In a recording, Patterson told a story about a woman who came to him about abuse and he told her to pray for God to intervene, The Washington Post reports. The woman came back to him later with two black eyes, he said.

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“She said: ‘I hope you’re happy.’ And I said ‘Yes … I’m very happy,’ ” because her husband had heard her prayers and come to church for the first time the next day, according to The Post. Patterson was also heard on the recording saying that abused women should “be submissive in every way that you can.”

On May 4 Patterson doubled down on his controversial comments and said he had nothing to “apologize for” because his comments were not “wrong.” Then on May 14, Patterson issued a statement saying “I utterly reject any form of abuse in demeaning or threatening talk, in physical blows, or in forced sexual acts.”

In today’s announcement, the seminary’s board members stated that they thought Patterson had “complied with reporting laws regarding assault and abuse” and that the seminary “stands against all forms of abuse.”

Cedarville University is located around 35 minutes northeast of Dayton and is a private christian institution with around 3,300 students enrolled.

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