RALEIGH (AP) -- There are five colleges and universities still tied to the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, but those links are about to be severed.
The schools -- Campbell University, Chowan University, Gardner-Webb University, Mars Hill College and Wingate University -- also want the freedom to pick trustees from other denominations and other states.
The decision to split would cost each school slightly more than $1 million a year.
A dozen Baptist-affiliated colleges and universities have split with Baptist state conventions over the past two decades. Wake Forest University and Meredith College separated from the North Carolina convention years ago.
Some schools fear the conservative direction of the denomination might limit their academic freedom. The convention voted last year to ban gay-friendly churches from the organization. Separation supporters say their schools are increasingly attracting students without a Baptist background.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)