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Furman University | Text

Baptist Board Challenges Trustee Integration Policy

An article appearing in Furman's student newspaper, The Paladin, dated October 26, 1963, detailing a challenge, made by the General Board of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, to the Furman trustee's resolution authorizing Furman to admit all qualified applicants regardless of race.

Baptist Board Challenges Trustee Integration Policy -- By CURTIS VANADORE -- Since the Furman trustees adopted a resolution for a new admissions policy for the University, the General Board of the South Carolina Baptist Convention has challenged the decision of the trustees. The historic resolution authorizes the University's administration to admit all qualified applicants to the University. The General Board met a few days after the trustees and voted to ask the Convention to instruct the Furman trustees to delay action on the new admissions policy until a state-wide policy could be developed. This state-wide policy would encompass the three Baptist colleges in the state: North Greenville Junior College, Anderson Junior College and Furman. Whether the policy would govern the to-be-established Lower College of South Carolina is yet to be determined. A poll taken in 1961-62 on campus resulted in an overwhelming majority of students and faculty being in favor of integration of the University. Coincidentally, the resignation of two members of the Furman Board were announced along with the new admissions policy. Some have seen fit to link the two together, but the two men and some others have seen differently. Dr. John H. Hamrick and Clifton Jones resigned from the Furman Board on Oct. 2 and Oct. 4 respectively. They gave reasons in letter to Dr. John L. Plyler who spoke for them at the board meeting. To clarify the haze around the two men's resignations, following are two rules of the Convention. In essence, one states that no person can serve on boards of two institutions at the same time; i.e., a man cannot be trustee of Furman and a trustee of the Baptist Hospital at the same time. The rule of rotation states in essence that a trustee has to be off of a board for one full year before be can be re-elected to that board or be elected to another. The Baptist College of LSC's trustees will be elected in 1964. and Hamrick and Jones would like to be eligible for election to this board; therefore, they resigned from the Furman board. Both men are stalwarts in the development of the new college. Plyler had this to say about the two men's resignations, 'The resignations of Hamrick and Clifton Jones were sent to me prior to the meeting of the Board of Trustees. These gentlemen gave as their reasons that they felt they had a responsibility to the establishing of the Baptist College of Lower South Carolina." Their resignations were in no way connected with the resolution of the Trustees to consider applications of all qualified students. The resolutions of the trustees for a new admissions policy and the General Board's proposal to the Convention for a delay in said policy will be discussed and voted on at the convention next month.