ATLANTA (BP)–The Supreme Court of Georgia has denied Shorter College’s motion for reconsideration of the court’s decision in Shorter v. Georgia Baptist Convention, convention attorney Tom Duvall reported July 1.
The court, in a 4-3 decision May 23, upheld a Georgia Court of Appeals ruling that Shorter College’s actions to sever ties with the Georgia Baptist Convention be set aside as outside the bounds of state corporate law.
A DeKalb County Superior Court judge, in April 2003, had allowed Shorter to dissolve and transfer its assets to the newly formed Shorter College Foundation Inc., thus discontinuing the Georgia Baptist Convention’s selection of the college’s trustees.
In March 2004, a three-judge panel of the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the convention’s appeal. Shorter then took the case to the Georgia Supreme Court.
Now that the state’s high court has denied Shorter College’s motion to reconsider, the case will be remanded back to the Superior Court of Dekalb County. In the meantime, attorneys from both sides will begin the process of returning the school to the authority of the convention.
J. Robert White, executive director of the Georgia Baptist Convention, said he was pleased that the court rejected the motion for reconsideration of the case.
“This has been a long and difficult process for our convention and we are grateful that it is finally coming to a successful conclusion,” White said. “We now look forward to the return of Shorter College to our Georgia Baptist Convention family. Every effort will be made to create a smooth transition. It is our sincere desire that Shorter College be a fully accredited Baptist college.
“Obviously, we have never agreed with our challengers that being an accredited college and being a Baptist college are mutually exclusive conditions,” White added. “Clearly, Baptist convention relationships with their accredited colleges decry such a notion.”
The four-year struggle between the convention and the educational institution has been followed closely by other state conventions as they evaluate similar longstanding relationships with their entities.
Shorter College was founded in 1873 and has been affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention since 1959.