- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The College of William & Mary’s removal of a cross from a campus chapel has won the Virginia school this year’s “Campus Outrage Award” from a conservative student group.

The removal of the cross from William & Mary’s Wren Chapel is “a particular case that is sadly typical of what goes on in leftist colleges,” said Stephen Klugewicz, executive director of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s Collegiate Network, which awarded the college first place in its 10th annual awards for extreme examples of political correctness on American campuses.

“We use these awards to shed light on the most outrageous instances of intolerance and intimidation on the part of college officials.” Mr. Klugewicz said.

William & Mary President Gene R. Nichol said he asked for the 18-inch cross to be taken from Wren Chapel in October because of concerns about offending non-Christians, and that he had received complaints about it. The removal of the cross — to make the chapel “equally open and relevant to all,” Mr. Nichol said — made headlines and stirred protests by students, faculty and alumni of William & Mary, the nation’s second-oldest college after Harvard.

An online petition to reinstate the cross garnered 18,000 signatures. Threats by an unnamed donor to withdraw $12,000 of funding from the college forced Mr. Nichol to change his decision on March 7. Mr. Nichol has established a committee to study the role of religion at public universities.

Religious symbols from all faiths now will be available in the sacristy of the college chapel.

Amanda Yasenchak, former editor of the college newspaper, the Virginia Informer, nominated the college for the award. She wins the $1,000 first prize.

Second place in the Campus Outrage Awards went to the University of California at Berkeley, where the student government passed a bill to provide scholarships for students with drug convictions, in opposition to a federal law.

Johns Hopkins University received third place for its efforts to shut down the Carrollton Record, the university’s only conservative newspaper, after the paper published a story about the appearance on campus of a pornographic film director in May.

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