After a 172-year
relationship, Mercer University in Macon, Ga., and the
Georgia Baptist Convention are going their separate ways.
The convention voted November 15 to sever ties
with Mercer over differences on doctrinal and social
issues. Trustee Griffin Bell said committee members
possibly were upset over an October event at the
university that included National Coming Out Day.
The two groups agreed to the terms of the
breakup on Friday, according to a statement issued by
school president R. Kirby Godsey. Mercer will get $3.5
million that the convention had already designated for
Baptist student scholarships through 2007. Convention
spokeswoman Diane Reasoner said the $19.5 million
endowment to the school will be turned over to Mercer.
After 2007, Mercer must seek Baptist funds from
individual churches. The school will gain its autonomy
in choosing its board of trustees, creating a
self-perpetuating board with exclusive control of Mercer's
property and assets. Before, nominees were approved by
the Baptist convention.
Godsey said in Friday's statement that this
week's agreement "effectively ends" the relationship
between the two institutions. "It does not, of course,
alter the heritage or the history of the institution,
nor does it diminish the high Baptist traditions on which it
was founded," Godsey said.
Mercer's board of trustees must approve the
agreement at its April meeting. (AP)