Following a two-plus hour executive session, the Jacksonville State University Board of Trustees voted on Tuesday to terminate the employment of JSU President John Beehler without cause.

The board gave chairman Randy Jones authorization to give Beehler a 30-day written notice that his contract will be terminated, as first reported by The Anniston Star.

“I have never felt better, more optimistic and more encouraged about the future of this school,” Jones said in a release from JSU. “We have so many great things and great people here and the sky is the limit on what we can do to help this community and help our students become successful in life.” 

Beehler's last day will be Nov. 21 and Don Killingsworth, who was the chief external affairs officer, will serve as the acting president effective Tuesday.

“I am humbled by the decision of the board and honored to serve the institution in this role,” Killingsworth said in a release from JSU.

Beehler's termination comes weeks after a Georgia woman filed a federal lawsuit against JSU and the board of trustees claiming the university aided in covering up her sexual assault by a basketball player in 2017.

A month ago, at least a dozen men were arrested and charged with rape or sodomy after being accused of having sex with two minors on or near the campus between January and early September.

A few days after the report of the rape arrests, Beehler was given a 90-day leave of absence starting Oct. 1.

Jones told reporters on Sept. 21 that Beehler's leave granted by the board of trustees was "in no way related" to the allegations of statutory rape on or near the campus this year.

Board members Clarence Daugette and Gale Saxon Main abstained from the vote, while the remaining board members voted to remove Beehler. 

Beehler was the school's 12th president since taking office in 2015. Prior to arriving at JSU he served as dean of the Robert Morris University business school.

The board has not yet announced plans to permanently fill the position or provided a timeline for a presidential search.

Those steps will likely be discussed at the board’s January meeting.