Group Questions Old Library Deal in Dover on Religious Grounds - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Group Questions Old Library Deal in Dover on Religious Grounds

Posted: 10/12/2017 18:12:00 -04:00 Updated:

DOVER, Del.- A deal to sell Dover's old library to Wesley College for $1 is being called unconstitutional by a Wisconsin-based group on the basis of separation of church and state.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to the city about the issue and claimed Wesley is a religious school and the terms of the impending sale of the long-vacant library essentially gift the property to the college. The property had once been appraised at more than $1 million.

Ryan Jayne, an attorney with the foundation, said it's also irrelevant that the deal hinges on Dover receiving more than $1 million from the state for transportation projects.

"The city should just not be doing this. It looks like there are a number of problems but the church-state issue is one of them," he said.

Wesley College Spokeswoman Jessica Cook said FFRF's description of the school as a "religious college" was misleading and the school's primary purpose was the education of students from all backgrounds.

"Wesley College exists within the long tradition of private, non-profit American colleges and universities with religious affiliations, from Emory and Loyola to Duke and Boston College—among many others," she said.

The group has not filed a lawsuit over the issue, but has taken legal action over similar issues in other states.

But Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen said the city solicitor approved the deal and Dover would be ready for a legal challenge by the foundation.

"It'll cost us some money but we'll be vindicated in the fact that we did our homework," he said.

 

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