Dancing to the Convention Tune 125
constitution. We support the student organizations and activities, curricular
and extracurricular, which we have helped them to develop.
When the faculty statement was read in chapel by Dean William C.
Archie, the students gave it a standing ovation, even though Archie
told them that Wake Forest had no choice but "to recognize authority
and to adhere quite literally to the ban on campus dancing." Dr.
Tribble also rose to speak that day, and the students came to their feet
for him, roundly applauding. Tribble told them he expected to
cooperate with the Committee of 17 in any study "designed to
strengthen" Wake Forest. Conceivably, he said, some good might
come of it. "I believe that the college will come out stronger with
academic freedom, intellectual integrity, and religious freedom," he
On December 13, 1957, the Board of Trustees postponed action on
dancing, but in the meantime one member, Dr. George W. Paschal,
Jr., announced that he intended to press for a new vote be cause he
judged the action of the convention to have been a "usurpation" of
trustee authority. He said:
educational institution, an institution that for a century and a quarter
Were merely a question of dancing involved, I should remain silent. But
there is more to this controversy than that. It could have escaped no one in
North Carolina last week that the objective of those in control of the
convention was not merely the prohibition of dancing but to prescribe what
speakers are to be invited to the campus, what is to be taught in the
classrooms, what thoughts faculty and students alike must be exposed to or
entertain without fear of punishment.
I cannot acknowledge the convention's right to make any such prescrip-
tions nor do I think a mass meeting competent to resolve in a few hours
difficult questions of educational policy. Should such questions hereafter be
decided by the convention, I have no doubt that it will mark the end of
Wake Forest as a serious educational institution….
I regard the Convention's action as usurpation. To let this usurpation pass
unchallenged would be to break faith with thousands who have labored and
sacrificed to make Wake Forest a great has believed that free inquiry and
Christianity, especially the Baptist variety, are not incompatible.
It is my hope, of course, that the college and its Board of Trustees can win
and keep the confidence and support of the Baptist State Convention. But I
am unwilling to have that support and that confidence at the price of
submitting educational policy to convention supervision.