By Bob Allen
Kentucky Baptist Convention leaders voted July 17 to hold in escrow Cooperative Program funds earmarked for Campbellsville University after the school changed bylaws to elect its own trustees.
Don Mathis, chairman of the convention’s business and finance committee, made the recommendation after the university proposed phasing out over four years about $1 million a year it receives from the convention in exchange for being able to include non-Baptist trustees and to ensure academic freedom.
“Having reviewed the facts surrounding this unilateral move made by Campbellsville to form a self-perpetuating board and therefore nullify the Covenant Agreement, I feel this recommendation is in order,” Mathis, a vocational evangelist from Bowling Green, Ky., said in a KBC news release. “It will give us time to study the matter before we send more CP funds.”
The committee voted to maintain scholarships to Kentucky Baptist students attending Campbellsville. The convention offers first-time freshmen from KBC churches need-based scholarships of up to $1,000, renewable for three years. Scholarship funds are distributed separately from the university’s annual allocation from the Cooperative Program, a unified funding plan that allows congregations to support both state and national convention causes with a single check.
“I agree with the KBC officers that this decision should not impact scholarship funds to our Kentucky Baptist students already enrolled at Campbellsville,” Mathis said. “We don’t want them to suffer because of Campbellsville’s decision.”