Of the many questionable assumptions in "At William & Mary, a Cross Becomes a Lightning Rod" [Close to Home, Feb. 18], I'd like to focus on just one. The writers, alumni Andrew R. McRoberts and Constance B. McRoberts, strongly imply that College of William and Mary faculty have expressed support for President Gene R. Nichol simply because he's our boss.

Maybe the McRobertses didn't get to know their W&M professors all that well. From everything I've experienced since joining the faculty in 1988, as a bunch we'd score pretty low on the sycophant scale. Shyness at challenging our administrative officers is a charge that just doesn't fit.

Here's a request, then, to those who disagree with faculty support of Mr. Nichol's decision to store the cross and restore it to the chapel on those occasions when its presence was requested. Pay us the compliment of acknowledging that we act outside the classroom based on the same principles that we nurture within it. Once we've weighed the issues, it's incumbent on each of us to express our conscience respectfully. The bottom line is that many faculty here feel deeply that a public university must make an extra effort to be inclusive of people of all religious perspectives.



The writer is a professor of anthropology at the College of William and Mary.