I write to follow up on Board Chair Mackey McDonald’s April 10 email about the college’s review of the Presidential Requirements Bylaw. Mackey promised that you would receive regular updates about the work of the Committee on Church-Relatedness. This is the first of those updates.
First, a brief reminder about the committee and our work: As Mackey explained in his recent email, our committee grew out of the 2010-11 presidential search, which prompted questions about the Presidential Requirements Bylaw. The trustees periodically review the bylaws, and we agreed in December 2010 to undertake an examination of this bylaw within a year after the new president took office.
Let me be clear from the start: Our Presbyterian affiliation is not in doubt. Rather, our charge is to understand the college’s relationship with the Presbyterian Church and the Reformed Faith, and, in that context, review the Presidential Requirements Bylaw.
Thus far, our committee has met twice, and we have begun to educate ourselves about Davidson’s heritage with the Presbyterian Church and our grounding in the Reformed Tradition. We are now developing a process that will guide our efforts. In the next 4 to 6 weeks, our committee plans to accomplish the following:
- Review legal and historical materials related to the trustee bylaws and the Reformed Tradition.
- Better understand the role of faith in the “Davidson Experience.”
- Identify other colleges and universities that have contemplated a change in institutional bylaws and obtain information about them.
- Design a community conversation that is respectful and candid, and that allows for every constituent to participate and hear others’ thoughts during the next several months.
- Establish a target timeline for this review that does not belabor the steps, but guarantees a reasoned and thoughtful dialogue and decision.
By early June, I will be back in touch with you regarding our planned process and a target timetable. We also intend to reach out to you during the summer months to solicit your valued input and advice.
I echo Mackey’s assurance that this will be a thoughtful and open dialogue, one that reflects Davidson’s commitment to the highest standards of inquiry and discourse. On behalf of the committee, I ask that you take the opportunity to be part of this discussion. Each of us is shaped by our own experience—but this community conversation will allow us to hear and learn from the experiences of others. That is consistent with what we value most about Davidson.
If you have thoughts you’d like to share in the coming weeks, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact any of the trustee committee members listed below. Thank you for participating in this process and letting your voice be heard.
William Rikard ’67
Chair, Committee on Church-Relatedness
Committee on Church-Relatedness
Richard Boyce ’77
Ed Kizer ’61
Elizabeth Brooks Mailander ’85
Mackey McDonald ’68 (Ex Officio)
Sara Tatum Pottenger ’79
Ernie Reigel ’80
William Rikard ’67, Chair
Ben Williams ’84
This update was sent as an e-mail to all Davidson students, faculty, staff, and alumni on April 27, 2012.