A forceful liberal

Courtesy of The Dome.

Former UNC-Chapel Hill law dean Gene Nichol, a forceful liberal voice and an occasional lightning rod, resigned abruptly today as president of the College of William & Mary in Virginia. In a letter to William & Mary supporters, Nichol said he was informed Sunday by college leaders that his contract would not be renewed in July. He then decided to step down immediately, and, in a parting shot, said he refused an offer of "substantial economic incentives" to remain quiet about the reasons for his departure, Jane Stancill reports.

He said he made four decisions that stirred a furor at the public college in Williamsburg, including moving a cross in a historic chapel used regularly for secular college events—citing principles of separation of church and state. Nichol never recovered fully from the cross controversy.

I am a very big fan of Gene Nichol and I applaud his stand against the politically correct cowards who run the show at William and Mary. They tried to buy off the wrong guy - which only goes to show how inept they really are.

I wish Gene well.



Gene Nichol simply tells it like it is today. Perfect!

I love Williamsburg, VA. Seriously, that is a kick ass town when it comes to just enjoying Americana.
No, really! They even have good pizza, but that'll cost you to find out where.

Thank you Gene Nichol. Some times, people have to throw away the big money to have the ability to say what is on their mind.

Gene just did that.

Anglico? Please let us know where we might thank Gene Nichol for the backbone to just plainly say, I don't agree with you so let us part ways.


We are not talking about walking away from an ice cream cone that isn't the flavor we want.

This administrator is progressive in a way that America needs US to be progressive.

The fact that Gene Nichol "never recovered fully from the cross controversy" is enough to let each of us here to know that there is no possibility to be considered anything but heathen by the God Squaders unless you play by their unwritten rules.


North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

William and Mary

I don't know where the conservative tendencies come from. The students are progressive, the professors are progressive, and the community isn't rightwing.

But the administration does seem to be decidedly Tory. From denying the workers a union to appointing Henry Kissinger as chancellor, Jefferson's alma mater (and mine) doesn't seem to willing to act in accordance with the ideals it espouses.

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The GOP will try to suppress the vote in 2008.

Wait a minute on the judgments

As a student when Nichol was the dean of UNC Law and having heard rumblings on this before, I think that there is more to the story.

Nichol got in trouble at UNC and Colorado where he was before not for his goals and attempts to get there but the manner in which he did it. At UNC and Colorado (hardly conservative leaning institutions) he ran into the same kind of trouble for doing things without going through the proper channels or even informing (much less seeking input) from such groups as the board of the universities.

At William and Mary, my understanding was most of the conflict arose due to a conflict regarding a historic cross on campus. Nichol choose, without consultation, to personally direct maintenance people to take it down. He claims in the name of separation of church and state, although the constitutional basis of his claim is debatable since the cross was a historic piece in a historic building that no student is forced (or even coerced) into going into. The disagreement with him was not his position but the cowboy manner in which he tried to implement it.

There are a number of similar examples from UNC that ensured that most did not miss him when he left the school. In fact the rankings of law schools universally agreed that he did not do a good job (UNC had the largest ranking drop in the history of the rankings the year after he left).

Based on my personal experience, and what I know of this instance, I put the blame on Nichol rather than the school. Not for his positions but the way in which he implements them in an unpresidential manner.

I certainly admire Nichols

I certainly admire Nichols for not taking a payoff to shut up, but it appears to me he mishandled the cross controversey. Just don't schedule secular events in the chapel if it is a problem.

But seriously, I think everyone at W&M must know of its religious past and a cross in a chapel is to be expected, no? Are non-Christians really offended by this? It's not like a prayer, where you are expected to participate, the cross is just there in a Christian chapel.

I am a firm believer in the "iron wall" of seperation b/w church and state and entirely agree that conservative Christians are always trying to break it down and vigilence is needed.

but you have to pick your fights and it appears to me Nichols picked the wrong one.

Are non-christians offended?

It depends. It depends on how the history is handled. Christianity is so ingrained in southern culture that many people don't realize when it crosses the line.

I've been on college campuses that used to be religious institutions that *had* to remove the crosses from the steeple of their chapels because they wanted to receive federal funding. As a non-christian mother of an atheist child, I don't think it's a bad thing at all.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

I'm offended

I'm officially a Christian, though I've back-slid so far my ticket has probably been rescinded.

That said, my daughter will be attending a college founded in the Methodist tradition, and the campus has more than a few crosses. She's a Unitarian and will be able to brush off the influence, I suspect (and hope).