After intense pressure from donors, officials at the College of William & Mary have allowed the return of a Christian cross to the public school’s chapel.
Last fall, President Gene R. Nichol ordered the cross removed from permanent display at Wren Chapel on the Williamsburg, Va., campus. Nichol said the building should welcome all students, regardless of their religious leanings.
Nichol’s action sparked an immediate uproar, even causing TV preacher Pat Robertson to bemoan the situation. More importantly, angry alumni threatened to withhold donations to the school. One donor reportedly rescinded a $12 million pledge.
In March, a committee formed by Nichol recommended that the cross be returned to the chapel in a "prominent, readily visible place," reported the Religion News Service. Nichol and the school’s board followed the committee’s recommendations.
The Washington Post reported that the cross would be encased in glass and accompanied by a plaque describing the college’s Anglican roots. The agreement also called for the chapel to be available for the housing of other religions’ symbols.
Nichol told The Post that the action "recognizes both the history and traditions of the chapel and works to make it more open and welcoming to people of other faiths."