Conservative author Dinesh D’Souza has resigned as president of The King’s College amid allegations that he was carrying on a relationship with a woman while still married to his wife, the college has announced after a source confirmed it to TheBlaze.
The board of trustees for the New York City Christian school met Thursday following a report in an evangelical Christian publication that D’Souza attended a conference in late September with a younger woman whom he introduced as his fiance.
“God has a mighty future for Dinesh, but there are some things he has to go through first,” board chairman Andy Mills said afterward, according to the Tribune.
Mills, who will serve as interim president, also said: “I have to admit, I got a little over-enamored with [D’Souza].”
In a statement later, Mills said the board engaged in “careful consultation” with D’Souza before accepting his resignation “to allow him to attend to his personal and family needs.”
“We thank him for his service and significant contribution to the College over the last two years,” Mills said.
According to World magazine, D’Souza and the woman, Denise Odie Joseph II, stayed in the same hotel room during the Christian conference in Spartanburg, S.C on Sept. 28. Asked about being engaged while still married to his wife of 20 years, D’Souza reportedly said he had filed for divorce “recently.” According to World, court documents show he didn’t file until Oct. 4 — a week after the conference.
D’Souza spoke out against the allegations on Wednesday, writing in an op-ed for Fox News that he and his wife have been separated for two years, that he and Joseph stayed in separate rooms and “are not and have not been having an affair.” D’Souza said he and Joseph have suspended their engagement.
“I had no idea that it is considered wrong in Christian circles to be engaged prior to being divorced, even though in a state of separation and in divorce proceedings,” D’Souza wrote.
Decrying “a clear attempt to destroy my career and my ministry,” D’Souza alleged the World story was part of a personal vendetta against him by the magazine’s editor and called it “viciousness masquerading as righteousness.”
Catherine Ratcliffe, a 21-year-old junior at King’s College, described an “interesting atmosphere” on campus this week, which also happened to be during midterm exams.
“We’re all surprised and some in shock even,” Ratcliffe told TheBlaze. “We were kind of living the whole thing real time.”
King’s College student body president Samuel Tran said he thought most students agreed the board made the right decision in accepting D’Souza’s resignation.
“I agree that the board made the right decision,” Tran wrote in an email. “The coming weeks and months will not be easy, but I am confident that greater days are ahead.
Christian Stempert, a 20-year-old junior, described mixed reactions from students over the past few days.
“There were a variety of reactions from the students, some instantly sided against D’Souza, some were more temperate and decided to hear him out,” Stempert said. But particularly after D’Souza’s Fox News op-ed, “I think everyone was on the same page [that he had to go],” he said.
“It’s a rough time because he was the public face of the school,” Stempert added. “We have confidence with board will choose a good replacement and we can just keep going on, having classes, getting back to normal because this was a pretty crazy couple of days.”
Jonathon M. Seidl edited this story. Full disclosure: Seidl is a graduate of The King’s College and a former intern at World, which levied the initial charges against D’Souza.
This post has been updated.