A restoration at William & Mary

We’ve written many times about the needless controversies generated by William & Mary’s president Gene Nichol, especially the furor that resulted from his unilateral decision to remove the Wren cross from the altar of the Wren chapel. Today comes word that the college has decided not to renew Nichol’s contract and, consequently, that Nichol has resigned effective immediately.
Among several lessons that might be learned from Nichol’s rocky tenure, the one of broadest applicability is this: when a religious matter has been settled, in the sense that it’s not generating any real controversy, one should be extremely hesitant to upset that settlement, imperfect though it might be.
Taylor Reveley, dean of the law school, will become William & Mary’s interim president. Reveley was the managing partner of my old law firm. Before that, as the firm’s hiring partner, he hired me. That decision notwithstanding, Reveley is a brilliant and extremely capable man. Why William & Mary passed him over at the time it selected Nichol is something I’d like to hear the powers-that-be explain.

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