A Movement to Defend and Honor William & Mary’s History
“William and Mary belongs to all Virginians, to the nation, and to the world.”
From a resolution unanimously adopted by the W&M Board of Visitors on Nov. 17, 2006

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Virginian-Pilot: Racy show shines light on double standard

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Here's free advice for the president of the College of William and Mary. Bring back the cross. Now. Or ignore it and continue to look foolish. [Read More!]
02/21/07

Washigton Times: Out with the cross, in with the sex

02/19/07

Virginia Gazette: Sex show draws crowd

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Topless women weren't the only thing keeping students at the College of William & Mary focused Monday night at the Sex Workers Art Show. Sparkling nipple adornments, feather boas, bare bottoms, erotic dances, striptease music and sex toys entertained a crowd of more than 400 who were packed into the auditorium of the University Center. Another 300 were turned away. The show attempted to empower the actors by portraying the realities of their careers. [Read More!]
02/14/07

(Rev) Joe Ponic, '59

I am neither an Evangelical Christian nor someone who is insensitive to other peoples' faith or feelings, but I am someone who has a sense of history. In fact that is what drew me to W&M; almost 50 years ago. The cross in the chapel is part of its totality just as a Torah is in a Temple or the [Read More!]
02/08/07

Virginian-Pilot: Kaine says he didn't think W&M; needed to remove Wren cross

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine didn't see a need to remove the cross from permanent display in the College of William and Mary's historic Wren Chapel, but he respected the rights of college presidents to make such decisions, he said today.
[Read More!]
01/30/07

Harrisonburg Daily News Record: Chapel Cross

If there is one lesson to be learned in the continuing controversy at the College of William and Mary, it’s you don’t appoint a former ACLU officer to head a college with a religious background. That’s akin to naming a vegetarian as president of the American Cattlemen’s Association or choosing a pacifist to head the NRA.
[Read More!]
01/29/07

Washington Times: Bow to diversity leaves altar empty

WILLIAMSBURG -- The simple altar at the College of William & Mary's Wren Chapel befits the austerity of the Anglican tradition in which the school was founded. There are no ornate icons or stained-glass windows, just a few candles and an empty space where a brass cross once stood. [Read More!]
01/29/07

Roanoke Times: Removal of cross was an affront to history

As a 1986 history graduate of the College of William and Mary, a graduate of Reformed Theological Seminary, and currently a Ph.D. student in church history at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., I feel that I have at least a little knowledge about religion and history. [Read More!]
01/29/07

AP/Newschannel 3: Students Weigh In On Wren Cross

Students are speaking out on a controversial decision to remove a cross from a chapel at William and Mary's campus. [Read More!]
01/29/07

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Prejudice Against Christianity

In the 1600s, America’s new settlers founded two universities: Harvard University and the College of William and Mary in Virginia (WM). Although Harvard is private and WM is public — and both are now purely secular — both have histories rich in the Christian faith of their founders. [Read More!]
01/28/07

Richmond Times-Dispatch

I am writing this letter to comment on the removal of the cross from the College of William and Mary's Wren Chapel. As a 1986 history graduate of William and Mary, a graduate of Reformed Theological Seminary, and currently a PhD student in church history at Catholic University, I have at least a little knowledge of religion and history.
[Read More!]
01/26/07

George Strong, Professor of History Emeritus

I write to recognize your spirited adherence to ancient tradition at the College of William and Mary. The College was sanctioned by a charter granted by King William III at a time when England was enforcing Anglican uniformity. In 2007 the president, board of visitors and faculty are enforcing the doctrine of political correctness at the college. Naturally the cross in the Wren Chapel can no longer to be tolerated. It has been removed by fiat. The tradition of absolutism indeed is alive and well at William and Mary. Long live Lord Botetourt! [Read More!]
01/19/07

Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star: Wren Chapel cross is consistent with Founders' views

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The controversy over when a bronze cross can be put on display in the Wren Chapel at the College of William & Mary is the result of just one more attempt at political correctness ["'Put off' by a cross?" Jan. 9]. [Read More!]
01/15/07

Powerline: A disingenuous slap at Christians

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Mike Adams at Townhall has a good column on a display of "Christ-o-phobia" and arrogance by Gene Nichol, the new president of the College of William and Mary. Nichol decided to remove the cross from the altar of the college's Wren Chapel. The 2-foot gold cross had graced the altar since the Great Depression when Bruton Parish Church donated it to William and Mary. Those using the Chapel who didn't want the cross to be present could have it removed. In recent years, according to Adams, the cross was removed for approximately 15 to 20% of wedding celebrations in the Chapel. [Read More!]
01/13/07

Townhall.com: A tale of two bigots

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President Gene Nichol recently decided to remove the cross from the Wren Chapel altar at William and Mary. It is but one reason why the incurably Christ-o-phobic administrator should be removed from his position at the prestigious institution of higher learning. Another reason is the secretive fashion in which he made the decision – one that was free from the input of students, faculty, staff, and alumni. [Read More!]
01/12/07

Martha Williams Jenkins, '78

January 9, 2007

Dear Sir:

When I graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1978, I could not have conceived of anyone, let alone the President of our great and prestigious university, removing the Cross from the Wren Chapel. [Read More!]
01/09/07

Toledo Blade: Bowing at the PC altar

THE head of the College of William & Mary has genuflected to the god of political correctness, and has needlessly offended many students, alumni, and others who respect history and tradition. Since the 1930s, the altar in the chapel of the Christopher Wren Building on the college’s Williamsburg, Va., campus was home to an 18-inch cross. But in a misplaced quest for religious neutrality, President Gene Nichol had it removed in October. [Read More!]
01/07/07

Daily Press: Will Nichol, pundit cross verbal swords?

WILLIAMSBURG -- Controversy continues over the decision by College of William and Mary President Gene Nichol to remove the Wren Chapel cross from permanent display on the chapel altar. Conservative pundit Dinesh D'Souza confirmed Thursday that he hopes to debate Nichol - or another William and Mary representative - at a campus forum on Feb. 1. [Read More!]
01/05/07

Like a thief in the night, the defacing of an American chapel

When the extremist Taleban junta demolished the centuries old Bamiyan Buddha statues in Afghanistan in 2001, the world replied with outrage at the attacks on those ancient artifacts. It was, indeed, an outrage against art, antiquity, history, and religion as these great statues carved into a mountainside in the Bamyan Valley were brutally dynamited by the Islamist extremists then holding Afghanistan in thrall. It was right that the world community expressed their disgust at this obscene destruction. [Read More!]
01/04/07

Associated Press/WDBJ7: Conservative writer wants to debate W&M; cross removal

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. A nationally known conservative author is challenging William and Mary President Gene Nichol to a debate -- the latest development in an ongoing saga over a cross removed from the altar of a school chapel. [Read More!]
01/04/07

Jonathan M. Baron, ‘92

January 2, 2007

Dear President Nichol:

The decision to remove the cross from Wren Chapel marks a deeply sad moment in the history of the College, and I join the members of the William & Mary community who have expressed disappointment and strong opposition. [Read More!]
01/02/07

January 2, 2007

Dear President Nichol:

The decision to remove the cross from Wren Chapel marks a deeply sad moment in the history of the College, and I join the members of the William & Mary community who have expressed disappointment and strong opposition. [Read More!]
01/02/07

Fort Worth (Tx.) Star-Telegram: Is tolerating intolerance a college's cross to bear?

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Proof that tolerance is becoming intolerable: Students willingly attending a university that was founded at the request of the Anglican church are miffed because there's a cross in the sanctuary of the campus chapel. [Read More!]
12/31/06

Send us information for our partner blog with our new form

You can send us comments, letters, pictures, or other information for posting on the blog by using our new simple form at http://www.savethewrencross.org/blogletter.php. Of course, if you absolutely cannot do with out traditional email you can always reach us at info@savethewrencross.org. Just put "For posting on Save the Wren Cross blog" in the subject line.

Direct Link to Submit Blog Posts and Ideas - http://www.savethewrencross.org/blogletter.php


Remember, our partner blog can be found at http://www.savethewrencross.blogspot.com.
12/27/06

Washington Post: Upset About Cross's Removal, William and Mary Alumni Mount Online Protest

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WILLIAMSBURG -- The cross is small, perhaps no more than 18 inches above its base, its gleaming brass surface marked only by an inscription. But the cross, which has graced the altar table in a chapel at the College of William and Mary for decades, has come to symbolize a passionate debate about religious tolerance ever since the school's president ordered the cross removed from historic Wren Chapel. [Read More!]
12/26/06

Robert G. Jones, ‘72

Memo to Messrs. Nichol, Powell, and Sadler:

The sophistry of the president, the indifference of the BOV chair, and the sycophancy of the president's supporters define the true dilemma for William and Mary. This venerable institution is, today, devoid of leaders of great character and stature. While they have elected to make the Wren Chapel Cross an issue, they have stumbled and failed to present a thoughtful and well-reasoned justification for removing the Cross from the 300 year-old chapel. They present a defense and subsequent compromise as if they, too, had been removed to a closet. How else could they continue to fail to see the gravity of this matter? [Read More!]
12/26/06

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Regal, Not Legal: The Feather Merchants At W&M;

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New York. One of the first problems the incoming president of the 300-year-old College of William and Mary, Gene Nichol, faced was a weighty matter of feathers -- two to be precise. They were attached to a zippy logo for the athletic teams at the college, used for 20 years on everything from team uniforms to plastic booze cups. The college had spent a lot of money and effort defending the alumni's nostalgic attachment to a sports symbol against a bizarre legal challenge. [Read More!]
12/25/06

Virginia Gazette: Compromise is not enough

View an image of the actual article in the Virginia Gazette (.jpg Format)
Read the article in Microsoft Word 2000-2003 format.

William & Mary president Gene Nichol continues to create quite a big stink in the College of William and Mary community. Last October, he had made a unilateral decision to quietly banish the Wren Chapel’s two-foot brass cross to a closet until it was requested, a reversal of the original policy that allowed the removal of the cross from the altar during activities that did not appreciate its presence. His decision had received both praise and wrath; praise for his sensitivity and social enlightenment and wrath for his discrimination against the Christian history of the College. In response to the uproar among community members, he has offered to replace the cross on Sundays. This compromise is unacceptable. [Read More!]
12/24/06

Elizabeth Gibbons, M.A., 1971

My dear Mr. President:

I tried to call your office on Friday, December 22, 2006 A.D. (at 6:30 in the morning Pacific Standard Time) to respond to your latest salvo on the Wren Cross "Controversy", only to discover that the office is closed for Christmas. What a serendipitous coincidence. Your proffer of a "compromise" seemed to occur just as everyone scampered off for the festive Holy Day(s). More coincidence, I assume. [Read More!]
12/23/06

World Net Daily: College prez backtracks on cross removal

The president of the College of William and Mary College has begun backtracking over his decision to remove a donated bronze cross from the school's historic Wren Chapel, but students and alumni say his proposal for a "permanent plaque" just isn't enough. [Read More!]
12/22/06

CNS News: Christians Decry College 'Compromise'

(CNSNews.com) - In a move aimed to appease Christians who were offended by the removal of a cross from the campus chapel, College of William and Mary President Gene Nichol on Wednesday announced a "compromise" that acknowledges the chapel's Christian roots - but keeps the cross stored most times. [Read More!]
12/22/06

WTKR 3: William & Mary President Offers Compromise On Cross Controversy

Gold does not glitter on the altar of the Wren Chapel this Christmas season, but a compromise over the controversial gold cross may bring it back to the historic altar for at least one day of the week.

Video is available at this link [Read More!]
12/21/06

Richmond Times-Dispatch: W&M; to restore cross to chapel

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WILLIAMSBURG -- Battered by criticism, the College of William and Mary will resume display of a cross in the school's Wren Chapel -- on Sundays.

President Gene R. Nichol said in an e-mail to students and staff yesterday that he will make two changes to the policy he created in October that removed the 2-foot-high symbol of Christianity from routine display in the historic chapel. [Read More!]
12/21/06

Daily Press: Wren Cross Will Reappear on Sundays

WILLIAMSBURG -- The Wren Chapel cross will be back on the altar - on Sundays, at least.

College of William and Mary President Gene Nichol said Wednesday that the bronze cross would be displayed on the altar Sundays and that the university was commissioning a plaque honoring the Wren Chapel's origins as an Anglican chapel. [Read More!]
12/21/06

Associated Press/WVEC: W&M; cross will return to chapel on Sundays

WILLIAMSBURG (AP) -- A cross that was removed from a College of William & Mary chapel to help welcome non-Christian visitors will return to the altar on Sundays, the school's president announced Wednesday. [Read More!]
12/20/06

Dennis Di Mauro, '86

Dear President Nichol:

My name is Dennis Di Mauro and I am a 1986 history graduate of William and Mary, a graduate of Reformed Theological Seminary, and currently a PhD student in Church History at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC. The reason I am revealing my credentials to you is to demonstrate that I have at least a little knowledge in religion and history. Using this background, I wanted to let you know that your decision to remove the cross from Wren Chapel has aptly demonstrated your disregard for both of these disciplines.
[Read More!]
12/19/06

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Wren Cross Controversy: Does President Nichol's Agenda Call for Secularizing College?

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Williamsburg. In October, William and Mary's new president, Gene Nichol, ordered the brass cross that had adorned the altar of the school's Wren Chapel for decades, to be removed and locked away unless spe- cifically requested to be put out on the altar. Nichol explained his decision on October 27, that the "chapel . . . must be welcoming to all." Yet, removing symbols is an action done in a spirit of censorship; it is not a welcoming act. [Read More!]
12/18/06

Robin B. Foskey, Major, USAFR

I am a graduate of the University of Virginia and an officer in the US Air Force. I am deeply saddened by the removal of the cross from the chapel. I am tired of having to apologize for the fact that the United States was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. In our efforts to stand for everything, we have come to stand for nothing. Please proudly restore the cross to its rightful place in the chapel. [Read More!]
12/14/06

New Blog Launched!

On December 5, 2006, W&M; grads (and bloggers) Karen Hall and BeachGirl launched the SaveTheWrenCrossBlog as a complementary effort of this web site.

SaveTheWrenCross.org and SaveTheWrenCrossBlog are part of a growing ad hoc coalition of students and alumni of the College of William & Mary in Virginia who are opposed to W&M;’s new President Gene Nichol’s October 2006 order to remove the 100 year old Wren Chapel Cross from permanent display on the altar table in the College’s 274 year old historically Anglican Wren Chapel.

Those who support restoring the Wren Cross represent a wide cross section of people – Christians, Jews, atheists, non-religious, liberals, conservatives. They also represent a wide cross section of perspectives.

SaveTheWrenCrossBlog is an opportunity to discuss those perspectives as well as share ideas and strategies to achieve the stated goal of the petition.

Link: http://www.savethewrencross.blogspot.com
12/13/06

World Net Daily: Chapel cross issue stands 5,000 to 1, but who's counting?

Students, alums still trying to convince college prez to restore historic symbol

The dispute over the placement of a historic cross in the Wren Chapel at William & Mary College now stands at more than 5,000 people seeking the restoration of the antique, and one against, but who's counting?
[Read More!]
11/29/06

Daily Press - Letter: W&M; crusade

By Ludwell H. Johnson III, Williamsburg

November 28, 2006

I am a former professor of history at the College of William and Mary. I read with interest the column by my friend, Scott Nelson, praising the president of W&M; for closeting the Wren Chapel cross. Nelson seems to think that this saved the college from becoming another Liberty University, dragged along in fundamentalist chains by some equivalent to the Rev. Jerry Falwell. [Read More!]
11/28/06

Todd Larson ‘04

November 21, 2006
Dear President Nichol,

I am deeply disturbed by your recent decision to remove the cross from the Wren Chapel. A person who would demand the removal of a religious symbol from a mosque would be denounced as an intolerant bigot, and rightfully so. But if you remove a cross from a chapel, you are to be celebrated as a forward-thinking promoter of tolerance and inclusion? That’s absurd. Instead of coddling close-minded people who are offended by seeing a cross in a chapel, maybe you should instead focus your efforts on teaching these individuals to learn to accept symbols of religious faiths that differ from their own. [Read More!]
11/21/06

Travis Simone ‘03

Dear President Nichol:

I am deeply troubled by your decision to remove the cross that sat on the altar in the chapel of the oldest academic building in the country. To me the chapel and the cross represent elements of William and Mary tradition that are too important to let go of simply because a couple of hypothetical people, potentially, may, possibly, at some point in the future be offended. Or because the latest trend in academia is to mold everything to the standards of the buzz words, "diversity" and "tolerance." William and Mary should know that trends come and go, but our tradition connects 21st century students with those who studied in the 17th century. Tradition is precisely what allows William and Mary to stand at the intersection of 2006 and 1693, talk about diversity! When we remove the symbols of the past we actually sacrifice parts of our diverse history. [Read More!]
11/21/06

Caroline Boyd ‘83

Dear Mr. Nichol:

While I respect the note of inclusion you were trying to strike in removing the cross from the Wren Chapel, I must disagree with this effort.

Webster defines a chapel as "a place of worship used by a Christian group other than an established church". While the Wren Cross is Episcopalian in origin, it is a representative symbol for Christian denominations and the fact remains that the chapel has a Christian history.

Those wishing to use the chapel for events celebrating other faiths should certainly be able to, and should certainly continue to be allowed to request the removal of the cross during that event. [Read More!]
11/21/06

Times-Dispatch: Column - William and Mary Displays New Intolerance

Washington. The new president of the College of William and Mary, Gene Nichol, has ordered the removal of the historic Wren Cross from the altar of the school chapel. The Wren Chapel is located in the oldest academic building in continuous use in the United States, at the very heart of the nation's second-oldest university, founded in 1693. [Read More!]
11/20/06

Baron Bodissey at Gates of Vienna opines:

“The removal of the cross is offensive in the extreme, not just to Christians, but to all alumni and friends of the College of William and Mary. It denies history, tradition, and the part of the Christian faith in the making of William and Mary and the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

11/20/06

Karen Hall, ‘78

Karen Hall ‘78

Dear William & Mary Board of Visitors:

The comments that you have received from my fellow alumni, regarding the removal of the Wren Chapel cross, are as astute and insightful as one would expect from William & Mary graduates, and I urge you to give them great weight as you debate this issue.
I would only add that I have never been, nor did I ever think I could be, embarrassed to be a William & Mary graduate, until this.

I am one of two William & Mary alumni who serve on the faculty of Act One, a Christian Screenwriting program. We will be hard-pressed to explain to our fellow faculty members, much less the students, why our alma mater took a cross off the altar of its chapel and locked it in a storage closet. In an effort to be “welcoming” to all faiths, you have been incredibly offensive to Christians. Also, as you no doubt realize, this action has ramifications that go far beyond the boundaries of the College of William & Mary and the Commonwealth of Virginia. [Read More!]
11/19/06

Raleigh (Renick) Weckbaugh, '75

Dear Sir:

As a 1975 William and Mary graduate who was later married in the Wren Chapel, I am appalled and offended by your decision to remove the cross from the Wren Chapel.

In an effort to display greater tolerance and diversity, our society and now my alma mater have displayed toward Christians and Christianity a breath-taking degree of intolerance and similitude by showing such disrespect of their faith and their religious freedom. [Read More!]
11/18/06

WorldNetDaily: 2,000 names on petition seek restoration of cross

William & Mary officials had removed it 'to make chapel more welcoming'

November 17, 2006

A student-organized petition has been presented to the Board of Visitors at William & Mary College, seeking the restoration to the historic Wren Chapel of a two-foot-tall bronze altar cross that had been present for decades.

It had been removed recently on the order of school managers to make the chapel "more welcoming" to visitors, but students and alumni are protesting.

The petition at the start of the day had about 1,400 signatures, but by the end of the day the count was nearly 2,100 calling on the school's governing board to return the cross, according to a current count on the website for the SaveTheWrenCross.org campaign. [Read More!]
11/17/06

Daily Press: W&M; chapel cross plan defended

Despite an online petition and some alumni opposition, the university's board stands by the president's decision to remove the symbol.

BY SETH FREEDLAND AND CAROL SCOTT
November 17, 2006

WILLIAMSBURG -- College of William and Mary President Gene Nichol defended on Thursday his decision to remove a cross from permanent display at the Wren Chapel. He told the school's Board of Visitors that displaying the Christian symbol in the historic building excluded students of other religions.

His statements came after a petition with more than 1,400 signatures calling for the bronze cross to be put back was presented to the board, the college's governing body, Thursday morning.

"Some have thought that my steps disrespect the traditions of the college, or, even more unacceptably, the religious beliefs of its members," Nichol said. "That perception lies heavy on my heart." [Read More!]
11/17/06

Virginian-Pilot: Backers of Wren Chapel cross take their case to W&M; board

By MATTHEW BOWERS
November 17, 2006

Members of The College of William and Mary Board of Visitors were met Thursday morning with petitions and letters urging that a cross be returned to the historic Wren Chapel.

Three students opposing last month’s decision by school President Gene Nichol handed packets with more than 1,400 names to board members arriving for their first meeting since the controversy arose.

“They said 'thank you’ and said they’d take a look at it,” said William Coggin, a senior from Vienna.

In a report to the board Thursday, Nichol defended the removal of the cross, saying that regularly displaying it would send “an unmistakable message that the chapel belongs more fully to some of us than to others.” [Read More!]
11/17/06

Richmond Times-Disptach: W&M; president reiterates reasons for cross removal

BY ANDREW PETKOFSKY
Nov 17, 2006

WILLIAMSBURG -- W&M; President Gene R. Nichol removed the cross from Wren Chapel because its presence made some students insiders and others outsiders, he said yesterday.

Nichol spoke to the College of William and Mary's governing board of visitors a few hours after some students and alumni presented the board with an Internet petition with 1,400 names of people who want the cross restored.

The 2-foot-high symbol of Christianity was removed from the historic chapel last month. [Read More!]
11/17/06

Jim Jones '82, '86

Dear President Nichol,

I will join the chorus of voices asking you to reconsider your decision. I am trying to understand your reasons, but I think the course you have chosen to take does not accomplish your stated goals.

You made this decision, based on your letter, because "recognition of the full dignity of each member of our diverse community is vital" and because there is a need that the Chapel "be open to students and staff of all beliefs." The first reason isn't a reason, unless you are arguing that the mere presence of a historic cross reduces someone's dignity, and the second reason isn't a reason either, because the Chapel already welcomes all who choose to enter, cross or no cross. There was no real problem to fix. Also, I doubt very much that students and alumni who are of the Christian faith or who were raised in the Christian tradition are feeling at this point that their dignity meant much of anything. I also have to ask you whether you feel that as a result of your decision, any Jewish, Muslim, Hindu students and faculty, for example, are now suddenly restored to a level of dignity that you imply has been denied them in the past by the presence of a historic Christian symbol in a Chapel that's been a Chapel for over three hundred years. [Read More!]
11/16/06

Daily Press: Petition: Bring back the Wren Chapel cross

BY SETH FREEDLAND
November 16, 2006, 1:04 PM EST

WILLIAMSBURG -- A petition signed by more than 1,400 members of the College of William and Mary community calling for a bronze cross to be put back in the Wren Chapel was presented to the school's governing board today.

The governor-appointed Board of Visitors is meeting today and tomorrow for its first quarterly meeting.

Last month, College President Gene Nichol ordered a small, century-old bronze cross to be removed from the historic Wren Chapel to allow the space to be more welcoming for all faiths. The 274-year-old chapel has secular uses, including annual school-wide events for freshmen and seniors. [Read More!]
11/16/06

CBN News: Cross Removal: A Dangerous Precedent?

Sarah K. Cron
November 16, 2006

CBNNews.com - The removal of an historic chapel cross at the College of William & Mary is not taking well with many alumni and students. They're fighting back with petitions and appeals to school leaders.

The school's president had the cross removed in an effort to be less "faith-specific." Students and alumni fighting for the cross are concerned about where such thinking regarding the removal of a religious symbol might lead.

Several petitioners, from various belief backgrounds, claim that the logic used to remove the cross sets the precedence for removing any offending symbols. [Read More!]
11/16/06

Maria Sanchez Yost ‘81

Dear President Nichol:

I was once a proud alumna of W&M;, Class of 1981. Now, not so proud.

I was disgusted and embarrassed at your caving in to the NCAA with regard to the feathers, but I forced myself to shrug it off as another case of political correctness run amok. I just never thought I would see it in my alma mater.

Now your decision to lock away the Wren cross has truly saddened me. [Read More!]
11/16/06

Bill Reidway, ‘95

President Nichol,

I'm sure you're being bombarded with protestations regarding the Removal of the Cross from the Wren Chapel, and it's more than possible that you won't even have an opportunity to read this message. But I feel compelled to make known my profound discomfort with your decision, which I can only assume was made in an effort to promote diversity and tolerance on campus.

I do fear it will have the opposite effect in the end. This whole affair may appear to you to be of less importance than the protests you've received would make it seem...but in context of the full cultural landscape these days, your alumni community has good cause to be concerned. [Read More!]
11/15/06

R. Greg Paszkiewicz ‘94

Dear President Nichol:

Coming so close on the heels of the NCAA vs Feathers fiasco one wonders at the mental agility required to hop from one side of the argument to the other, only a lawyer could manage it without so much as a pause. Certainly, only a cloistered intellectual could argue that a cross is out of place in a chapel. That the cross is only a recent addition to the chapel (1931) suggests to some that its removal is therefore of little consequence, perhaps the same logic should be applied to many of the recent personnel additions to The College, recent being anyone hired since 1931. [Read More!]
11/15/06

Victor K. Biebighauser, '75

I am an alumnus of the college (class of 1975) and our son is also an alumnus (class of 2006). I am writing to express concern over recent reports I have read that the table cross has been removed from the Wren Chapel at your direction.
[Read More!]
11/14/06

Victor K. Biebighauser, '75

I am an alumnus of the college (class of 1975) and our son is also an alumnus (class of 2006). I am writing to express concern over recent reports I have read that the table cross has been removed from the Wren Chapel at your direction.
[Read More!]
11/14/06

CBN News: Alum Fights to Restore Chapel Cross

By: Sarah K. Cron
November 14, 2006 -- Direct Link

CBNNews.com - A William & Mary College alum is fighting to restore a two-foot tall gold cross to the college's Wren Chapel where it had been on display for more than 75 years.

Vince Haley, a 1988 graduate, is seeking to overturn a policy decision by college President Gene R. Nichol that required the cross be taken down in an effort to be less faith specific. The cross was removed in October from its place behind the chapel altar and locked in a nearby closet. [Read More!]
11/14/06

AP/Virginian-Pilot/WDBJ7: W&M; graduate wants cross returned to school chapel

Associated Press
November 12, 2006

WILLIAMSBURG - A graduate of the College of William and Mary wants his alma mater to bring back the gold cross that until recently was displayed in a school chapel, and he's reaching out through the Internet for supporters. Vince Haley, a 1988 graduate who is now research director for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, said he has also enlisted some current college students to help him bring back a traditional symbol "honoring faith in the heart of the college." [Read More!]
11/12/06

Virginia Gazette: Letter - History of the Wren Cross

In all the furor about William & Mary removing the cross from the Wren Chapel altar, no one has said anything about the cross itself. [Read More!]
11/11/06

Virginia Gazette: Cross over the Wren cross

By Sharon Schiff
November 11, 2006

WILLIAMSBURG — A surprisingly intense reaction to the College of William & Mary's decision to remove a cross from permanent display in the Wren Chapel took a new turn this week when an alum in Northern Virginia launched an online petition to return the religious symbol to its spot atop the altar. [Read More!]
11/11/06

WAVY/AP: William and Mary alumnus launches effort to return cross to chapel

Associated Press
November 9, 2006

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. A College of William and Mary graduate has launched an Internet petition to bring back the gold cross that was recently removed from the school's Wren Chapel.
[Read More!]
11/09/06

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Letter - Secularity is the problem on campus

Shame on the College of William and Mary. Removing a cross from a chapel? "Our chapel, like our entire campus, must be welcoming to all," said college President Gene Nichol ("Gold cross is removed from "W&M; chapel altar," Oct. 28). Who did the chapel not welcome? Looks like he meant the campus must be welcoming to all - except Christians. [Read More!]
11/09/06

Richmond Times-Disptach: Petition: Help save W&M;'s Wren cross: Discussion is lively as bid is launched to return relic to chapel

By Andrew Petkofsky
November 9, 2006

WILLIAMSBURG -- A College of William and Mary graduate has launched an Internet petition to bring back the gold cross that was recently removed from the school's Wren Chapel. [Read More!]
11/09/06

WTKR: Cross Causes Controversy On William & Mary Campus

By Stacy Davis
November 9, 2006

Cross? Or no cross? That's the question causing some controversy on the campus of the College of William and Mary.

A gold cross has been on the altar of the Sir Christopher Wren Chapel for more than sixty years, but now the college president has ordered it removed in the spirit of diversity and to make the chapel more "welcoming to all." [Read More!]
11/09/06

Andrew R. McRoberts '87

Dear President Nichol:

As a proud alumnus of the College '87, married to an alumna '88, I follow the activities of the College of William & Mary closely. I applauded your stand on behalf of student voting rights, agreed with your fight against the NCAA regarding the feathers, and understood (with some reluctance) your reasons for not filing a lawsuit over the matter. However, I must strongly disagree with your recent action regarding the Wren Cross.

Recently, you ordered that the Wren Cross, which had been a gift or loan from the Bruton Parish Church, and displayed on an ongoing basis on the altar in Wren Chapel since the 1930s, be removed and be used henceforth only for "appropriate religious services". You confirmed this order in an email to the College community on October 27, 2006. [Read More!]
11/09/06

Van Smith, '03, J.D. '07

November 9, 2006

Open Letter to President Nichol

I am disheartened by the President's recent decision to remove a small historic relic from the William and Mary Chapel.

It is all too ironic that he expressed disapproval over the removal of W&M;'s "feathers," to only a week or two later demand the removal of the cross from its historic resting place. Why does diversity and acceptance of others demand us to disregard the collective history of William and Mary? Are our "best values" demonstrated by removing contextual ties to the past? [Read More!]
11/09/06

World Net Daily: Save the Wren Cross' campaign is launched

'Save the Wren Cross' campaign is launched: School officials removed symbol to make chapel 'less faith-specific'

November 8, 2006 -- Direct Link

A graduate of the historic William & Mary College has launched a website campaign, including a petition, a blog and the history of the situation, in an attempt to persuade university officials to return the cross to the famous Wren Chapel on campus. [Read More!]
11/08/06

Mark J. Sweeney Jr. 86’

November 8, 2006
Subject: The Dilution of Tradition

Dear Dr. Nichol:

It was with great dismay that I read the recent article in the Flat Hat regarding the removal of the Bruton Parish Cross from the Wren Chapel, only to be displayed on an as requested basis. At first, it seemed absurd; why would we remove a cross from a chapel? But the more I mulled over it, the significance of the act began to be painfully apparent. I quickly came to view this as yet another compromise that threatens the very traditions that make W&M; arguably the most unique academic institution in the country.

The very need for the Wren Chapel was laid out in our beloved charter; "on February 8, 1693, King William III and Queen Mary II granted a charter which established "a certain Place of universal Study, a perpetual College of Divinity, Philosophy, Languages, and other good Arts and Sciences..." (source W&M; website). Divinity as you well know has its roots at the very core the pursuits of higher learning and is clearly laid out in our mission. We have indeed evolved to where we address a much more diverse population but I challenge you there is a means of enhancing the future without diminishing the past. [Read More!]
11/08/06

Daily Press: Letter - Respect the Sacred

A gauge of the health of a society is how it treats the sacred. A chapel is set aside for prayers and the worship of God, and the architecture of the Wren Chapel at the College of William and Mary reflects that intent. The college has chosen to make it a multi-purpose room. Placing the cross in the closet? Why not? Why not get rid of the Holy Table as well -- unless it serves as a good place to stack lecture material or awards. [Read More!]
11/08/06

Baptist Press: Cross Removed from Chapel

By Erin Roach
November 8, 2006

At the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., school officials have removed the 2-foot-high gold cross from the front of a chapel in the Sir Christopher Wren Building. [Read More!]
11/08/06

Virginian-Pilot: Letter - W&M; chapel isn't a chapel without its cross

Recently the decision was made at the College of William & Mary to end the permanent display of the cross in Wren Chapel in order to make the chapel a less "faith-specific" space and more "welcoming." [Read More!]
11/08/06

LTJG Hunter M. Abell, USN

November 8, 2006

President Gene Nichol
The College of William & Mary
PO Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795

Dear Sir:

Congratulations on recently completing your first year as President of the College of William & Mary. I look forward to William & Mary achieving new heights of excellence under your leadership. It is partly because of our College’s proud history and traditions, and their relation to William & Mary’s future, that I write today.

I recently became aware of the decision to remove the historic cross from the Wren Building chapel. After careful reflection, I strongly urge you to restore the cross to its proper location. Its presence in the chapel is justified by tradition, current constitutional concepts of church and state, and the unique nature of our treasured William & Mary community. [Read More!]
11/08/06

Daily Press: Letter - Wren Chapel's cross

The decision to remove the altar cross from Wren Chapel is a travesty ("Gold cross is removed from W&M; chapel altar," Oct. 28). Those who choose to deny our Christian heritage continue to chip away in their desire to remove all references to God or Jesus Christ from the public arena. The chapel's use by many people for nonreligious purposes is cited. They need to also recognize that the chapel is probably used much more frequently for appropriate religious purposes. [Read More!]
11/07/06

Daily Press: Letter - Wren Travesty

Removing the cross from the Wren Chapel at the College of William and Mary is a classic case of liberal political correctness overkill. Is the Holy Bible going into the closet next? [Read More!]
11/07/06

National Review Online: Saving the Wren Cross

Students and alumni at William & Mary have organized to "Save the Wren Cross" after the school's president ordered the removal of a cross from a campus chapel. [Read More!]
11/07/06

Dartblog: Save the Wren Cross at William and Mary

A group of students and alumni have got together at William & Mary to save the cross at the historic Wren Chapel. This page featured the story of the disappearance of the cross several days ago, and since then students and alumni alike have been stewing at the administration’s politically correct give-in. I just received a message from Vince Haley, William & Mary Class of 1988, who tells me that a consortium of W&M; folks have created Save The Wren Cross.org, which features, among other things, a petition to sign. [Read More!]
11/07/06

Virginia Informer: Pres Nichol orders cross to be removed from Chapel

By Jon San
Staff Writer
11/6/2006 - INTERNET EXCLUSIVE -- Direct Link

At 3:37 p.m. on October 27, President Nichol sent out an email that briefly announced to the college community that the cross in the Wren Chapel had been removed. In the email, Nichol cited recent complaints about the cross’s appropriateness and the desire for a chapel that is “welcoming to all” as reasons for making the decision. [Read More!]
11/07/06

We want your opinion

We'll be updating this blog regularly with content provided by you. If you wish to express your opinion, send it to us at info@savethewrencross.org for possible inclusion. We are especially looking for pictures of you and friends in front of the Wren Cross.
11/06/06

Virginian-Pilot: Wrong Decision by W&M;

I commend your Thursday editorial questioning the decision at William and Mary to remove the cross from the Wren Chapel. As a Colonial historian, I appreciate the consistent commitment of the college and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to historical accuracy in their presentations. [Read More!]
11/04/06

The Flat Hat: Wren Chapel facelift appeals to the sophisticated, spiritually egalitarian crowd

11/04/06

The Flat Hat: A place of worship

To the Editor:
I read the article entitled, “Cross removed to make Wren Chapel less ‘faith-specific’,” and was appalled by the belief that a cross in a chapel is offensive. Historically, chapels are tied to Christianity, hence why would a cross inside be offensive?
[Read More!]
11/04/06

The Flat Hat: Haley' 88: Save the cross

To the Editor:
There should be no confusion; President Nichol’s order to remove the cross from permanent display in the Wren Chapel is a radical decision. It is a radical decision that alumni, students and faculty should act to reverse. If the cross removal order stands, the College community will be accepting a dramatic erosion of its core historic identity. [Read More!]
11/04/06

The Flat Hat: College removes cross from Wren altar to make more ‘welcoming’

By Angela Cota
Flat Hat Staff Writer
November 4, 2006

The cross formerly displayed on the altar of the Wren Chapel was relocated to the chapel’s sacristy Oct. 26 to make the room more welcoming to all faiths.

Upon request, the cross is available for placement on the altar for services, private prayer or events.

“It is important to emphasize that the cross remains in the chapel and it is still there, but instead of being placed always on the altar, it is on the sacristy,” Director of News Services Brian Whitson said. [Read More!]
11/04/06

The Flat Hat: A chapel needs a cross

Last week, President Nichol revealed that the presence of the cross in Wren Chapel would be offensive, stating that, “recognition of the full dignity of each member of our diverse community is vital.” Instead, his actions were a blow to the integrity of the Chapel’s history, and a strike against what the cross represents -- values such as faith, sacrifice and openness. [Read More!]
11/04/06

Winchester Star: Cross removed: And with it history?

It never ceases to amaze us the depths to which academics will go to grovel before the great secular god of “diversity,” and, while doing so, deliver a swift backward kick to tradition — and the Almighty. [Read More!]
11/03/06

The Virginian-Pilot: Faulty reasoning on removal of cross at W&M;

The chapel in the Wren Building, near the apex of the William and Mary campus, is a hushed room of stone and dark paneling, rows of high-backed pews facing a central aisle, a small altar at the head of the room ringed by a rail. [Read More!]
11/02/06

Richmond Times-Dispatch: At W&M;

The College of William and Mary ranks as the nation's second-oldest institution of higher learning. It traces its roots to the Colonial era and owes its birth to the Anglican Church. Its early presidents were men of the cloth; its early chancellors included bishops of London and archbishops of Canterbury. [Read More!]
10/31/06

Karla K. Bruno ’81, ‘92

October 31, 2006

Dear Mr. Nichol:

With due respect, I strongly object to your decision to remove the cross from the Wren Chapel. I understand the cross will be kept in a closet, to be brought out on the occasion of a Christian event taking place. This is unsatisfactory on several levels.

First, as part of the Wren Building, the space is and always has been referred to as the Wren Chapel, not the Wren Spare Room. Removing the cross makes it just another pretty chamber and ignores, nay nullifies, its rich history and tradition over generations. Removing the cross redefines the default setting, if you will, which was likely your intent all along. It is no longer a place for Christian worship which allows other, non-religious events to occur; it is now a Generic Setting which allows for Christian worship on occasion. [Read More!]
10/31/06

Cavalier Daily: W&M; removes cross from Wren Chapel

The College of William & Mary has removed the cross from the altar in its chapel in response to the structure's frequent use for nonreligious events. William & Mary President Gene Nichol released a statement to the college community saying that he has "not banished the cross from the Wren Chapel. The Chapel ... is used for religious ceremonies by members of all faiths. The cross will remain in the Chapel and be displayed on the altar at appropriate religious services." [Read More!]
10/30/06

Michelle Malkin: Let's play "Hide the Cross"

The College of William and Mary has decided to make its famous campus chapel less "faith specific" and more "welcoming" by getting rid of the cross on its altar. Administrators huff that they're not tossing the cross aside--just putting it away when necessary to prevent students from being offended. [Read More!]
10/29/06

AP: William and Mary officials remove cross from changing chapel

Officials at the College of William and Mary have removed a two-foot-high gold cross from a campus chapel that they say is increasingly used for nonreligious events. The Sir Christopher Wren Building, finished in 1699, is used for some of the school's biggest ceremonies. It is where incoming freshmen take the honor pledge during orientation, and where seniors march through the campus landmark on their way to commencement. [Read More!]
10/29/06

Daily Press: Gold cross is removed from W&M; chapel altar

WILLIAMSBURG -- College of William and Mary officials removed a 2-foot-high gold cross from the altar of the Sir Christopher Wren Building chapel this week, in an effort to modify the historic chapel into a nondenominational space. [Read More!]
10/28/06

World Net Daily: Faith Under Fire: O'Connor new chancellor of cross-removing college

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is the new chancellor of the College of William & Mary, which has taken the unusual step of removing a cross from its chapel in an effort to ensure the area is seen as a "non-denominational area." [Read More!]
10/27/06

Flat Hat: Updated: Cross removed to make Wren Chapel less 'faith-specific'

The cross from the altar area of the Wren Chapel has been removed to ensure that the space is seen as a nondenominational area, Melissa Engimann, assistant director for Historic Campus, said in an e-mail to Wren building employees. [Read More!]
10/26/06

Richmond Times Dispatch: W&M; removes chapel cross to be inclusive

Officials at the College of William and Mary have removed a 2-foot-high gold cross from a campus chapel they say is increasingly used for nonreligious events. "In order to make the Wren Chapel less of a faith-specific space, and to make it more welcoming to students, faculty, staff and visitors of all faiths, the cross has been removed from the altar area," read a recent e-mail to Wren Building employees. [Read More!]
10/20/06

Flat Hat: Staff Editorial: Nichol botched handling of cross

7 December 2006 | The Flat Hat » opinions

Whatever you think of College President Gene Nichol’s decision to remove the cross from the Wren Chapel altar until it is requested, the secretive way the policy change was made is an embarrassment to the ideals of this college. The decision to change the cross policy was made without input from students, faculty or alumni, and was not even officially commented on until media pressure forced a reaction from the president. The College should be a model for vigorous debate and transparency, not a place where decisions are made in the dark with the hope that they will never be brought to light. [Read More!]
08/14/06

Cavalier Daily: Take Up Your Crss

The Wren Chapel at the College of William & Mary has been the source of controversy recently, after a decision was made to remove a cross from the altar during secular events. The cross is being removed "in order to make the Wren Chapel less of a faith-specific space," according to an e-mail printed in The Flat Hat newspaper at William & Mary. While moving the cross is an option, the problem could be avoided altogether by groups uncomfortable with the cross trying to find another venue. [Read More!]
01/11/06


Copyright 2006.