The 1958 convention also approved a policy under which Baptist
institutions could accept federal aid, long a problem in the doctrine of
separation of church and state, if prior consent were obtained from the
General Board of the convention. The test would be whether the
service for which the aid was given was a "service to humanity in
general." That phrase was later to be subject to disagreement in
Another issue which was to set off controversy was a proposal in
the convention that year which would have required the Wake Forest
trustees to get prior approval of the state body before making any
change in their charter. Widely debated in college and other Baptist
circles, it was interpreted by Wake Forest defenders as an attempt to
give the convention more control over the college and to weaken the
authority of the trustees.
In an address to the college chapter of the American Association of
University Professors, Dr. George W. Paschal, Jr., called the proposal
"the culmination of a fifty-year effort to rob the college of its
autonomy, to destroy its separate identity, to bend it to the will of an
outside body." The "obviously monstrous" idea, he said, was an
invitation "to commit hari-kari" to Wake Forest trustees, who were
already "going through a revolving door" because of the four-year-
tenure rule the convention had imposed in 1944. Paschal told the
professors that the "faculty alone can furnish an effective lead in
preserving Wake Forest as an autonomous institution with a will and
purpose of its own."
Two months later at a meeting on March 9, 1959, the faculty re-
sponded with a resolution rejecting the convention's proposal re-
garding charter amendment. It said that the members of the
undergraduate faculties "desire first of all to express our belief that
Wake Forest College should continue as an institution which is
dedicated to the pursuit and teaching of truth in an atmosphere which
is genuinely in harmony with the spirit of Christ," stating:
Therefore we believe that the ultimate purpose of the college and that of
the Baptist State Convention are one. Those officials of the college,
however, who are formally charged with the affairs of the college, namely,
the trustees, administrators, and faculty members, are under the inescapable
necessity of determining the means which best serve the educational
purpose of the institution.
Accordingly, there must be an area of freedom unequivocally reserved
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