Alum launches website to challenge Nichol on Wren cross

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November 17, 2006

1:09 AM

p. An alum opposing President Gene Nichol’s decision to remove the cross from the Wren Chapel altar has created a website, savethewrencross.org.

p. The domain name was purchased Oct. 31, and was accessible Nov. 8.

p. In addition to the website, Facebook groups, a petition and a website have been created to challenge the decision. Currently, the cross is kept in a chapel sacristy, a room designed to store religious items. Students may request use of the cross at times when a staff member is on duty.

p. The website includes a link to a petition addressed to Nichol. The petition is still growing and currently has over 1,300 signatures from students, alumni and others. A portions reads, “The Wren Cross was given to Wren Chapel by Williamsburg neighbor Bruton Parish Episcopal Church in the 1930s and has been a fixture on the altar ever since that time … We petition you to rescind your October 2006 order and return to the policy that had governed the display of the Wren Cross prior to your inauguration as the 26th President of the College on April 7, 2006.”

p. Today, the petition will be presented to the Board of Visitors.

p. “We hope to present a copy of the petition with signatures to the members of the Board of Visitors during the Nov. 17 meeting on campus, along with a collection of student and alumni letters about the subject,” Vince Haley, ’88, creator of the website, said.

p. The website links to news coverage of the issue, facts about the cross, a profile of Nichol and letters from students and alumni.
“The website is providing exactly the type of forum for a broader College dialogue that President Nichol invited in his Oct. 17, 2006 e-mail to students,” Haley said.

p. A few Facebook groups were created to voice student criticism of Nichol’s decision. “Save the Wren Cross” is the largest group with over 400 members. It posts a link to the petition and The Flat Hat editorial written by Haley.

p. “I’m not exactly opposed to [Nichol’s] decision, but rather the method in which the decision was formulated. I believe there should have been, and still needs to be, a dialogue between students and the president … I do not believe the full view of the students has been understood or solicited,” junior Charlie Bauer, a member of the Save the Wren Cross Facebook group, said.

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