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Franklin College fires president following sex crime-related arrest in Wisconsin

Thomas J. Minar

FRANKLIN, Ind. – Franklin College fired its president following a sex crime-related arrest in Wisconsin.

According to officials at Franklin College, President Thomas J. Minar was taken into custody in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, for “use of a computer to facilitate a sex crime, child enticement and exposing a child to harmful materials.”

He was released from custody on bond and forbidden to have direct contact with minors unless supervised. He was also told to stay off social media, the college said.

Franklin’s Board of Trustees Executive Committee immediately severed ties between Minar and the school.

“The Franklin College Board of Trustees is stunned by this event,” the college wrote in a statement. “This is the first such incident the Board has been made aware of regarding Dr. Minar, and the Board is fully committed to cooperating fully with Wisconsin authorities and working to ensure the safety of our campus community.”

The school has launched its own investigation into Minar’s conduct while he was president.

“I think it’s appropriate to just kind of know a little more,” said Franklin College student Maya McCloud. “And also in the emails, I know they have been talking about contacting the school if you need mental help with this.”

McCloud admitted that this news was shocking to her.

“Everybody was freaking out, and so like I just didn’t even know how to take that information,” said McCloud.

However, student Peighton Zebrowski said she is sad to say this wasn’t a surprise for her. She didn’t suspect it based on the president’s behavior, she just says she expects these things to happen because they happen frequently around the world and home.

“It happened at my high school, so like, hearing those things, it doesn’t really come to surprise,” said Zebrowski. “It makes me sad and scared for like the future when I have kids, if it will be the same or it will get worse?”

Both students said it is a tradition to visit the home of the president of Franklin College. The president usually hosts some kind of event, like an ice cream social. Zebrowski and McCloud say they went last year. Neither one of them noticed anything out of the ordinary from Minar at that visit.

“He seemed like a pretty chill guy,” said Zebrowski.

Franklin College Board of Trustees Chair Jim Due said released the following statement:

The safety of our campus community – especially our students – is always our first priority. We are deeply shocked and gravely concerned by the reported behavior of Dr. Minar that led to his arrest in Wisconsin, and we will continue to cooperate fully with authorities. As in other times of difficulty during the college’s 186-year history, our community will come together in support of one another as we continue to educate the innovative leaders of our future.

Minar announced last June that he planned to step down as president in June of 2020, and a search had been underway for a replacement. He’s served as college president since 2015 and was the college’s 16th president.

Lori Schroeder, provost and dean of the college, will serve as interim president until the board appoints an acting president as it looks for a permanent replacement.

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