BOV to wait on Nichol decision

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December 5, 2007

7:52 PM

p. When Board of Visitors members meet tomorrow, Thursday and Friday of this week, they most likely will not be making the much-anticipated decision of whether or not to renew College President Gene Nichol’s contract.

p. Rector Michael Powell said in a Sept. 28 e-mail to the College community that a decision should be expected in the spring, which means a vote on Nichol will not come until the February or April meeting.

p. Controversy has surrounded Nichol’s presidency since his Oct. 2006 decision to remove the Wren Chapel cross from permanent display. Vocal alumni have used websites, blogs and the media to amplify their concerns about Nichol, and questions were raised when it became known that Nichol misinterpreted an e-mail warning him about a revoked $12 million donation.

p. Despite controversy, Nichol believes he is qualified.

p. “Should it be the case that if you’re going to pursue some of the values that I’ve tried to pursue that the College should reject that?” Nichol said in a Nov. 15 Flat Hat interview. “That simply has to mean that you get a different kind of president, and I think that would be quite unfortunate for the College.”

p. He added that anti-Nichol attacks will continue until the BOV reaches a decision.

p. “There are a number of people who will criticize me regardless of what I do,” he said. “I’m not going to quit in the face of that.”

p. Jim Jones ’82, the leader of the anti-Nichol website ShouldNicholBeRenewed.org, said he asked the BOV to make a decision on Nichol in December but that Powell would not commit to a time frame. He also said that if the BOV renews Nichol, ShouldNicholBeRenewed.org will stop fighting to oust him. “I can’t invest any more intellectual and psychological capital in this,” Jones said.

p. The BOV meets tomorrow from 5 p.m. until 6:30 p.m., Thursday from 8 a.m. until 6:45 p.m. and Friday from 8:15 a.m. until 12 p.m. Meetings are held in Blow Hall and are open to the public.

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