Mars Hill trustees say school's charter trumps BSC policies
February 15 2002 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

Mars Hill trustees say school's charter trumps BSC policies | Friday, Feb. 15, 2002

Friday, Feb. 15, 2002

Mars Hill trustees say school's charter trumps BSC policies

By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor

The trustee chair at Mars Hill College says the school's regulations take precedence over Baptist State Convention (BSC) rules.

Fred Pittillo, the chair, said in a written statement that trustees believe their executive committee acted within school guidelines while accepting the resignations of President Max Lennon and Chancellor Robert Knott.

Pittillo issued the statement Feb. 11, about two weeks after the school newspaper, The Hilltop, called into question the validity of the committee's decisions.

A series of articles on the paper's Web site questioned the eligibility of two trustees and the executive committee's vote.

The eligibility issues focused on a BSC bylaw that limits trustees membership to a four-year term. Questions about the committee's votes centered on two ex-officio members who made motions and cast votes.

According to Pittillo's statement, the trustees believe the college's charter and bylaws take precedence over the BSC's rules. Furthermore, the trustees operate under additional rules that are not in the college's charter or bylaws, the statement said.

"We feel the most significant point of these organizational rules is precedent, which can be asked as 'Have the actions of the Board been consistent?'"

Pittillo said in the written statement that trustees are confident the Executive Committee "acted in good faith and worked within the framework as outlined by the College Charter, Bylaws and rules."

"I'm not saying without a doubt that our interpretation is right," he said in an interview.

Pittillo said the trustees do not want to do anything against the school or the state convention's rules.

"We have no reason to want to do that," he said. "And if we have done that then it's been unintentional."

Wayne Wike, the executive director of the Baptist State Convention's Council on Christian Higher Education, declined to comment.

Pittillo said that if it is determined that trustees acted wrongly, the board will change the way it makes future decisions. He said the board will not reconsider past decisions.

"The issues that have been in question would not change the outcome of anything so why go there," he said.

Students and faculty at the school reacted strongly to Knott's departure, speaking against it at public forums and at a trustee meeting that affirmed the decision.

Gene Crume, vice president of institutional advancement, has also resigned.

Pittillo said Mars Hill has hired a public relations firm, Price/McNabb, to help the school through the "crisis." He said more information about the situation might be released in the future.

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2/15/2002 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments
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