LOUISVILLE—Kentucky Baptist Convention leaders released a communication on Friday, July 11, informing its Mission Board that Campbellsville University’s attorney announced that the university plans to choose its own trustees beginning this year.
KBC Executive Director Paul Chitwood, who shared the news with Mission Board members in an email on behalf of convention President Chip Hutcheson, states that significant changes to the university’s bylaws and articles of incorporation are expected to be made on Tuesday, July 15.
Kentucky Baptists, through the Cooperative Program, contribute about $1 million to the university annually. Any action by the university’s board violating the Covenant Agreement between KBC and the school would put this funding in jeopardy.
Chitwood said he is hopeful Campbellsville leaders will decide to honor the Covenant Agreement and maintain its long-standing relationship with the KBC.
The communication is reprinted here in its entirety:
Dear Mission Board Member,
I am writing at the request of our convention president, Chip Hutcheson, to make you aware of an announcement from Campbellsville University. CU’s attorney, Jim Straus, met today with KBC officers (President Chip Hutcheson and 1st VP Kevin Milburn, A&I Committee Chair Garnetta Smith), KBC attorney James Taylor, and representatives from the Mission Board staff (Jim Donnell, Curtis Woods, and me).
Straus announced that CU plans to create a self-perpetuating board and welcome non-Baptist trustees onto the board. He also supplied a draft copy of edits to CU’s bylaws and articles of incorporation that will be recommended for adoption when the board meets next Tuesday. Straus is confident the changes will be adopted. In the opinion of our attorney, James Taylor, these bylaws are clearly inconsistent with the Covenant Agreement that governs the relationship between the KBC and CU.
Ironically, Straus indicated CU wants to deal with this matter as “a family” although CU leadership chooses for only their attorney to communicate rather than have a family discussion. Straus also indicated CU wants to forge a Partnership Agreement similar to the one forged with Georgetown although he insisted that CU’s desire to replace the Covenant Agreement has no similarity to Georgetown’s pathway.
James Taylor is requesting that Straus inform us of the outcome of CU’s vote on the changes to the bylaws and articles of incorporation after Tuesday’s meeting. KBC officers plan to meet again on Thursday to discuss these matters. We will update you on the situation as soon as we have additional information.
In the mean time, please pray for wisdom on the part of our KBC officers and leaders as they help us navigate these waters. While we grieve the decision of another school to distance itself from the churches that have long supported her we know that we still have institutions who remain faithfully committed to their covenant with Kentucky Baptists and to the mission of reaching Kentucky and the world for Christ.
Paul H. Chitwood, Ph.D.
Executive Director-Treasurer, Kentucky Baptist Convention