American Baptist College Pleased With Chancellor Ruling

NASHVILLE, TN — Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle has ruled that members of the Board of Trustees of American Baptist College (ABC) will be appointed in a two–step process. The college will identify, vet and nominate all potential Board of Trustee members. ABC will submit the names of the selected Board of Trustee candidates to the convention for good faith approval or disapproval.

Chairman of the Board, Rev. Dr. Don Darius Butler said, “From my reading, the ruling is fair—permitting the college the right to vet and nominate candidates for board appointment to

Rev. Dr. Don Darius Butler
Chair of the ABC Board of Trustees

the convention for final approval. This represents the spirit of a proposal that ABC offered the convention for consideration four years ago. The court has declared that the current composition of the board continues as the governing authority of the college, resetting some terms and making the two-step appointment prospective.”

The Chancellor’s ruling ends the two-year legal battle (in the absence of an appeal) between ABC and NBC regarding the rights to name the college’s Board of Trustees. The convention’s ability to approve the nominees selected by the college was clarified to exclude the power to remove members from the college’s board.

The ruling also clarifies that the college’s campus is owned by the college itself. Additionally, it was determined that the Convention would have no role in the college’s administration and operations.

Lead Counsel for American Baptist College, William J. Harbison, II, of Neal and Harwell, PLC, said, 

“American Baptist College’s history and impact in the Civil Rights Movement and to the City of Nashville cannot be overstated.  The college is thankful for the Court’s ruling, which requires a two-step process in which both the College and the National Baptist Convention have roles in the selection and appointment of College Trustees. This collaborative process will protect the college’s accreditation status and academic autonomy while recognizing the longstanding relationship between the College and NBC. We are optimistic the parties will work together to ensure the college’s future success.”

For more information, contact Dr. Phyllis Qualls at 615-687-6921 or pqualls@abcnash.edu.

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