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July 5, 2001

Calvin Prof Resigns After Arrest

Calvin College professor Robert C. Butler has resigned from his duties at the college effective immediately. Butler, through his attorney, David LaGrand, sent a letter of resignation by FAX to the college. Calvin President Dr. Gaylen Byker and Acting Provost David Diephouse, after conferring with other Calvin faculty members and administrators, accepted the resignation.

"We believe that this is an appropriate decision on Bob's part," says Diephouse. "Our prayers are with Bob, as he faces the implication of the charges brought against him, and our prayers are with his colleagues."

Butler, an associate professor of Sociology, Social Work and Criminal Justice, was arrested on Thursday, June 28 in Grand Rapids for possession of cocaine. He was held overnight at the Kent Country Jail in Grand Rapids, arraigned on Friday, June 29 and posted bail of $1,000. He was charged with possession with intent to deliver cocaine less than 50 grams. He entered a plea of innocent. If convicted he faces a minimum of one year and a maximum of 20 years in prison. His next hearing is scheduled for July 13.

Immediately after the arrest Byker expressed the mood of many Calvin employees when he said: "We are saddened and disappointed by this. It's a tragedy."

Butler was hired by Calvin for a two-year appointment in the fall of 1999. He completed his second year at Calvin this past school year and his appointment then was extended for an additional year.

Diephouse says Butler had a positive impact on the Calvin criminal justice program. Students responded to his experiences favorably (his recent student evaluations were at or above the college average). He also was involved in a number of community outreach projects, including ministry work with Abundant Life Ministry, where he taught karate and preached, under Pastor Arthur Bailey. He also preached at other local churches.

"He was doing what we had hoped he would do," says Diephouse. "He was bringing momentum to the (criminal justice) program and making connections between Calvin and communities in areas we don't have historic contacts."

Butler came to Calvin as an ordained Baptist minister and owner of a Ph.D. in sociology from Loyola, Ill. In fact, one letter of recommendation from Loyola said Butler's dissertation work was among the best he'd ever seen.

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Contact Phil de Haan
616-957-6475 (v)
616-957-7069 (f)