Davidson College drops trustee church rule, but "Christian" commitment still stands
Rarely is the watering down of a college's religious commitments spelled out so clearly than in the revisions to the Davidson College Statement of Purpose and bylaws, approved last week by the board of trustees.
No longer does the North Carolina college seek "ties which bind the college to the Presbyterian Church." (Davidson has official ties to the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.) Now it's "ties that bind the college to its Presbyterian heritage." And where the school used to "intend that this vital relationship be continued to the mutual benefit of church and school," it now doesn't say that it wants to benefit the church.
Likewise, the new statement dropped the line that it's "a college whose tradition commits it to nurture the life of the spirit."
Fortunately, the trustees rejected the most astounding change proposed by ad hoc committee of its members. The proposal had "Davidson commits itself to a Christian tradition that recognizes God as the source of all truth" replaced with "The religious tradition that has shaped Davidson recognizes God as the source of all truth." The final version now says "The Christian tradition to which Davidson remains committed recognizes God as the source of all truth."
But thanks to changes to the school's bylaws, the trustees don't have to actually think that means anything. Gone is the rule that "persons elected as trustees have been active members of a Christian church." Now it's a bit more complicated:
Historically, persons elected as trustees have been active members of a Christian church. In openness to and respect for the world's various religious traditions and the variety of religious preferences among the ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more