"Ideology to the Fore at W&M," a Commentary by Michael Paul Williams

March 9, 2007

Author: Michael Paul Williams

Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch


WILLIAMSBURG--Standing outside Wren Chapel at the College of William and Mary, Irene Mathieu summed up the fuss surrounding the removal of the chapel's 2-foot brass cross.

"I think it's kind of a big deal over something that's not a big deal," said Mathieu, a sophomore from Winchester.

The nearly century-old cross which arrived in the chapel during the late 1930s from nearby Bruton Parish Episcopal Church -- represents a blip in the 314-year history of William and Mary. "I honestly wasn't aware it was there until it became an issue," Mathieu said.

Days after W&M President Gene R. Nichol backed a committee-suggested compromise to return the cross to the chapel in a permanent glass case, Mathieu supported his initial decision.

"I think it's his belief that it's a public institution and should be open to all," she said. "And any symbols that suggest exclusivity should be removed."