The last five colleges and universities with ties to the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina are preparing to split with the organization, a move that would cost each school about $1.2 million a year.
Some schools fear that the conservative direction of the denomination might limit their academic freedom. The convention voted last year to ban gay-friendly churches from the organization. Supporters of the separation also said that the schools are increasingly attracting students who don’t have a background in the Baptist church.
“The denominations continue to set boundaries that are ever-changing, and it makes it difficult for universities to negotiate,” said Bill Leonard, the dean of Wake Forest University’s divinity school.