Cross debate costs William and Mary $12 million donation

3/01/07 -- WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP)
 WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) -- A long-time donor to the College of William and Mary will withhold a twelve (m) million-dollar pledge to the public university because the school removed a cross from a campus chapel.

School spokesman Mike Connolly says the donation was pledged to the campaign fund
before Gene Nichol became the university's president. Connolly says it was revoked
because the donor disagreed with Nichol's decision last fall to remove the brass cross
from permanent display on the altar at Wren Chapel.

The donor was not identified.

Nichol calls the loss of the donation "a serious setback to the college."

Nichol decided the cross should be displayed only during appropriate religious services or
when someone using the chapel requested it. He said he wanted the chapel to be
welcoming for students of all faiths.

The 18-inch brass cross had been displayed on the altar since about 1940.

Nichol recently created a committee of clergy, professors, students and alumni to study
the Wren Chapel's use. It will make a recommendation to the Board of Visitors in mid-April.

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