Following the publication of allegations that Belmont Board of Trust member Lee Beaman abused his wife, Beaman has taken a leave of absence from the board.
“Lee Beaman has requested and been granted by the Chairman of Belmont’s Board of Trustees a leave of absence from the Board until his family dispute is resolved,” according to a statement from the Belmont Office of Communications Tuesday morning.
On Thursday, Lee Beaman’s fourth wife Kelley Beaman filed a brief as part of the couple’s divorce proceedings, which said she is seeking a divorce on the grounds of “cruel and inhuman treatment.” The brief alleged their 17-year marriage was marked by a “cycle of abuse and apology.”
The Beamans are long-time supporters of Belmont, and the Alvin and Sally Beaman foundation, of which Lee Beaman is the president, has donated at least $25,000 per year to the university since 2002.
The obligations and powers of board members, like Beaman, are outlined in the Belmont University Bylaws.
Those bylaws also provide a standard of conduct and ethics for all university faculty, administration and staff.
“As a community seeking to uphold Christian standards of morality, ethics and conduct, Belmont University holds high expectations of each person who chooses to join the community,” according to the bylaws.
Kelley Beaman’s brief alleged Lee Beaman abused her sexually and emotionally for years, and says Lee Beaman admitted to having a sexual encounter with his wife and a prostitute, according to the brief.
Prior to the statement on Tuesday morning, the university had not made a public statement on the allegations against Beaman.
After seeing the allegations, some students and alumni started calling for Beaman’s removal from Belmont’s board. One of the most vocal has been 2016 alumnus Richard Meyer, who encouraged his Facebook friends to email or call university President Dr. Robert Fisher to ask that Beaman be taken off the Board of Trust.
“If we expect our students to live one way but then are run by people who are obviously corrupt and committed heinous acts, it really sets a facade of what is happening from the top down,” Meyer said.
Belmont could remove Beaman from the board with a vote from 2/3 of the other trustees, according to the bylaws.
Photo by Eric England, courtesy of the Nashville Scene