222
| the history of wake forest
his committee would “make such an almost final statement.” Dorman,
looking ahead to the Convention’s annual meeting on November
14, then suggested that the Convention take seriously any change
in the method of Trustee selection but also that the University con-
sider its practices in faculty selection in light of the concept that
every faculty member and administrative person, where possible,
“possess a strong Christian commitment.”
When the Convention met, it became evident that neither the
“agency” issue nor the idea of a self-perpetuating Board had any
serious prospects for approval. There was some willingness to in-
clude, in the study being made by the Committee of Fifteen, not
to be finished until 1980, some continuing discussion of the notion
that a certain number of the Trustees might be non-Baptists or live
outside North Carolina.
Campus reaction to the unwillingness of the Convention to make
changes desired by the Trustees was quick and widespread. With
varying degrees of “vehemence,” the College faculty, the faculties
of the School of Medicine and the Graduate School, the University
Senate, the student government, Mortar Board, and Omicron Delta
Kappa all urged support for the Trustees’ efforts, and on December
8 the Trustees themselves, by a vote of 27 to 6 (with two abstentions
and one Trustee absent), proceeded on their own to delete from the
University’s charter and bylaws those provisions relating to Trustee
selection and also the designation of Wake Forest as a Convention
“agency.” How future Trustees would be chosen was left open for
further study, and the Board promised to continue to work “in close
harmony” with the Convention, but obviously the Trustees had
challenged Convention authority with unprecedented independence
and vigor.
At the time of this confrontation the Convention was providing
twelve per cent of the budget for the Reynolda campus and four per
cent of the budget for the total University: an allocation for 1979 of
$936,937. With only eight votes in opposition, the General Board of
the Convention voted to place all these funds “in escrow” until the
Convention could determine what ultimate action to take. Though
denying that its action should be seen as “punitive” or as “econom-
ic blackmail,” Convention leaders announced that they would seek
legal counsel on how to deal with this rapidly developing crisis in
the University-Convention relationship.
Previous Page Next Page