NEWBERRY - The governance of Erskine College remains in limbo after a circuit judge extended a restraining order against the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church's plan to install a new board of trustees.
In a nearly packed courtroom at the historic Newberry County courthouse, Judge Eugene C. Griffith Jr. told attorneys on both sides that they had until Tuesday to submit final briefs, and he would make a decision within 10 days.
"The Erskine Alumni Association and the dismissed trustees have great confidence in the ability of the judge and in our judicial system, and they believe that the court will reach the right result in this matter," said attorney John Devlin, who represents the alumni association and ousted trustees.
The Erskine Alumni Association and two of 14 Erskine trustees who were ousted by the ARP's governing body filed a complaint asking the court to rule that the church overstepped its authority by removing board members without cause and that the church doesn't own the property or assets of the college. They also asked the court to keep the synod from moving forward with its plans to restructure the board.
The issue arose after officials said an investigation by a church-appointed commission found that some professors at the liberal arts college in Abbeville County had created a "culture of intimidation" in which some students felt they were ridiculed because of their religious beliefs.