Donor withholds $12 million over chapel cross dispute
The Associated Press reported yesterday that a longtime donor to the College of William & Mary will withhold a $12 million pledge to the public university because of the removal of a cross from a campus chapel.
In a letter dated Feb 16, former Board of Visitors member James W. McGlothlin wrote another former board member that school President Gene Nichol's decision to remove an 18-inch-high brass cross from the chapel's altar was "unbelievable."
It's unknown whether McGlothlin is the donor. Asked on Wednesday whether McGlothlin was the donor, officials said the school didn't discuss individual donors.
The student newspaper, The Flat Hat, published an editorial today describing the donor's decision to withhold a pledge as setting "a dangerous and troubling precedent of alumni using financial donations as a tool to influence or buy College policy."
In December, The Flat Hat printed a staff editorial questioning Nichol’s methods and the secretive way in which he removed the cross, and called for more open dialogue. Nichol has since acknowledged that he should have sought the opinion of students and alumni before making his decision. Regardless, neither he nor any other member of the school’s administration should compromise what they feel is best for the College for the sake of alumni or dollars.Leave it to the students to represent the moral voice of reason. It remains to be seen if the school President will listen.