DUE WEST, S.C. — Trustees of Erskine College & Theological Seminary voted today not to alter its charter and bylaws to grant its sponsoring denomination authority to remove trustees.
This action affirms the conclusions and recommendations of an ad hoc committee of the board formed last year to consider requests coming from the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) Church concerning the relationship between the church and the institution.
An 18-page document outlining the committee’s findings and recommendations was provided to trustees in advance of their quarterly meeting this week and was discussed in a Thursday evening session prior to the board’s Friday meeting.
Speaking on behalf of the trustees, Chairman Joe Patrick said, “the supporting reasons for this response are made clear from evidence in historical Synod and Erskine documents, matters of law, accreditation standards, consultant advice and practical wisdom learned from other institutions by the diligent and thorough work done by the committee.”
Patrick did not release the committee’s report but confirmed that the vote passed by greater than a two-thirds majority.
Patrick added that the report considered by the board, “brings clarity to misunderstandings from recent years about the governance relationship between Erskine and the ARP Church. This relationship has been mutually beneficial for most of the institution’s nearly 175-year history, and Erskine wants the relationship to continue.”
In June 2011, the ARP Synod passed a motion requesting the Erskine board to consider altering its charter and bylaws to allow Synod to remove trustees “for cause.” Currently, the church body appoints trustees, which can be removed only by an action of the board.
Erskine anticipates issuing a more comprehensive statement in the days to come.