Santa Clara University's Acting President Lisa Kloppenberg responded to the message earlier today (below) about the resignation of President Kevin O'Brien, S.J., which was sent by the chair of SCU's Board of Trustees, John M. Sobrato ’83.
MAY 12, 2021
Dear Members of the Santa Clara University Community,
As you heard from Trustee Chairman Sobrato, I will be continuing in my role of Acting President while the Board of Trustees conducts their search for our next President.
One of the things I value most about SCU is the way that our community supports each other during challenging times. I realize that a development like this can bring up many feelings – I humbly ask everyone to give each other grace and space as we collectively absorb the news of Father O’Brien’s resignation. I am grateful that you will stay focused on your responsibilities to our students, other stakeholders and each other as we finish out this academic year and continue preparations for a return to campus in the fall.
I am excited about the positive admissions numbers for new students and want to thank the Enrollment Management division staff for leading a successful all-University recruitment effort under the most challenging conditions. New students – both first-year and transfer – are excited to join our Bronco Family, thanks to our Jesuit education of the whole person, amazing faculty members, devoted staff, strong “alumni and friends network” and the terrific programs we offer. As our incoming class continues to take shape, it is important we continue to engage new students throughout the summer and communicate our future plans. I appreciate all the steps being taken by so many of you to safeguard our community, including vaccinations and other safety measures.
I greatly appreciate all the support you have given me since I stepped into this position and I will continue to lean on you in the months ahead.
Lisa A. Kloppenberg
Message from the chair of SCU's Board of Trustees, John M. Sobrato ’83.
Dear Santa Clara University Community,
On May 9, 2021, Father O’Brien notified the Board of Trustees that he was resigning as President of Santa Clara University. The Board of Trustees accepted his resignation on May 10, 2021.
As I communicated to you in my letter on March 18, 2021, Father O’Brien was placed on leave by the USA West Province and an independent investigation was conducted on behalf of the Province. The Province has advised the Board of Trustees that it has concluded its investigation which found Father O’Brien engaged in behaviors, consisting primarily of conversations, during a series of informal dinners with Jesuit graduate students that were inconsistent with established Jesuit protocols and boundaries. The Province also advised the Board that alcohol was involved and that no inappropriate behavior was found in any settings outside of these dinners.
The Board of Trustees takes this situation very seriously and fully supports those who came forward to provide their accounts.
In light of the findings, the Province directed Father O'Brien to remain on leave and to enroll in a four- to six-month therapeutic outpatient program, which he has now begun, to address related personal issues, including alcohol and stress counseling.
The Board of Trustees will immediately establish a process to conduct a search for the University’s next President. We will keep you updated as the search process progresses.
In the interim, we are grateful that Lisa Kloppenberg will continue to serve as Acting President of Santa Clara University. The Board of Trustees has utmost confidence in Lisa and the rest of the well-established SCU leadership team. We are very grateful for the role they play keeping our University operating seamlessly and we are confident in their ability to continue doing so until our next President is named.
The Board of Trustees recognizes that this has been a challenging year on many fronts. We thank our entire campus community for your ongoing support and dedication to the University and each other during this time.
John M. Sobrato '83
Chair, Santa Clara University Board of Trustees