It appears that the economy is hitting evangelical groups and universities — once thought to be recession-proof. Both Oral Roberts University and Focuc on the Family have announced major layoffs. The Oral Roberts layoffs come shortly after a settlement with the founder’s son.
Oral Roberts University will lay off ten percent of its workforce. The school has been embroiled in a scandal involving the son of its founder, who is accused of using the University as a private fiefdom for himself and his wife.
The layoffs come after the school agreed to a roughly $450,000 separation agreement with its former president who resigned amid a spending scandal. That is a remarkably good deal for former president Richard Roberts, given the allegations of fraud and waste. Under the terms released Friday, ORU will pay Roberts his $223,600 annual salary for the remaining term of his appointment, which was to run through November 2009.
It appears that roughly 100 people will help pay for the settlement. The struggling school an annual budget of $91.8 million and is more than $17 million in debt.
It is not like the old days when Oral Roberts could threaten that God would “take him home” unless people sent him thousands of dollars.
For its part, Focus on the Family announced that it would fire 202 employees — roughly 20 percent of its workforce. 2
The group pumped considerable money in the successful California Proposition 8 fight against same-sex marriage.
Focus spokesman Gary Schneeberger confirmed that more layoffs are being planned. They blame the economy and falling contributions for the layoffs.
For the story on Oral Roberts, click here.
For the story on Focus on the Family, click here.