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November 7, 1980

College Chaplain George Williamson, in his 11th year in the office, wrote an open letter to the board of trustees in which he removed himself as a candidate in the chaplaincy search. Williamson wrote, “The recent decisions regarding the Chaplaincy seem to me so to compromise the nature of that office that I cannot in good conscience become a candidate for your open search.” Williamson cited the trustees’ rejection of standards for chaplaincy searches and evaluation recommended by both a multiconstituent Chaplaincy Review Committee and the National Association of College and University Chaplains (NACUC). Specifically, he noted that, while neither the review committee nor NUCAC supported the existing mandatory ten-year “rotation” of chaplains, neither did either body support the new five-year automatic open search.

Also, Williamson noted, the new search policy abandoned the NUCAC standards for a diverse search committee that included students, trustees, administrators and faculty members, particularly the chairman of the religion department. “By contrast,” he wrote, “the majority members on the present committee are Trustees. At Vassar, only presidential searches have received so much attention from so many Trustees. To make the chaplain so directly vulnerable to the governing body seriously compromises the calling of the ministry.” The Miscellany News

The Years