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College Loses Baptist Support

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/collegelos_207.mp3

The Missouri Baptist convention is ending its relationship with William Jewell College, located outside Kansas City. Delegates to the annual convention met in St Louis this week and voted to remove William Jewell from the 2004 budget...Baptist conservatives were concerned with some activities on the campus. The convention is affiliated with two other schools in Missouri: Southwest Baptist Universityin Bolivar and Hannibal-Lagrange College in Hannibal. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

LAST YEAR, WILLIAM JEWELL COLLEGE RECEIVED ABOUT 900 THOUSAND DOLLARS, 3 PERCENT OF ITS BUDGET FROM THE MISSOURI BAPTIST CONVENTION, WHICH IS AFFILIATED WITH A NATIONAL ORGANIZATION, THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION.

ROB EISELE IS DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS FOR THE LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGE. HE EXPLAINS HOW FOLKS AT THE SCHOOL HAVE REACTED TO THE CONVENTION'S DECISION TO ELIMINATE FUNDING FOR THE SCHOOL.

BUT THE NEW PRESIDENT OF THE CONVENTION, DAVID TOLLIVER SAYS BAPTISTS NEVER HAD AN IMPACT ON ACADEMIC FREEDOM, THOUGH SOME *WANTED* RESTRICTIONS.

TOLLIVER SAYS A SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE EXECUTIVE BOARD RECOMMENDED BREAKING TIES WITH THE SCHOOL AFTER AN INVESTIGATION THAT WENT ON FOR SEVERAL MONTHS.

IN ADDITION, TOLLIVER SAYS MEMBERS OF THE MISSOURI BAPTIST CONVENTION OPPOSED A CAMPUS PRODUCTION OF THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES.

TOLLIVER SAYS ALL THESE THINGS COMBINED LED TO A REQUEST FROM THE CONVENTION...

THIS ACTION BY THE CONVENTION COMES AS NO SURPRISE TO DR. CHARLES HEDRICK, A RELIGIOUS STUDIES PROFESSOR AT SOUTHWEST MISSOURI STATE UNIVERSITY.

HEDRICK ATTENDS A CHURCH IN SPRINGFIELD THAT BELONGS TO THE MISSOURI BAPTIST CONVENTION AND HE'S WORKED AS A SOUTHERN BAPTIST MINISTER.

BY INTOLERANT, HEDRICK MEANS UNWILLING TO ACCEPT ALTERNATE VIEWS AND APPROACHES TO THE BIBLE.

I T'S THIS INTOLERANCE, HEDRICK SAYS THAT HAS LED TO THE CONVENTION TO BREAK TIES WITH WILLIAM JEWELL COLLEGE.

SOME OFFICIALS AT WILLIAM JEWELL SAY THEY ARE SAD TO SEE THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE CONVENTION AND THE SCHOOL END BUT THEY ALSO SAY THEY'RE GLAD TO HAVE A HIGHER DEGREE OF ACADEMIC FREEDOM.

EISLE SAYS THE COLLEGE WILL REMAIN A CHRISTIAN-ORIENTED INSTITUTION...IT SIMPLY WON'T BE AFFILIATED WITH A CERTAIN DENOMINATION.

THE COLLEGE HAD ANTICIPATED THE CONVENTION DECISION.

EISLE SAYS SCHOOL OFFICIALS WERE READY TO DEAL WITH THE LOSS OF FUNDING.