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Monks at Saint Anselm College have sued the Roman Catholic institution, asking the court to prohibit the trustees from changing the college's bylaws without the consent of the monks, whose Benedictine order founded the university, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.

The head monk, Abbot Mark Cooper, wrote in a letter to trustees included in the lawsuit that changes made by the board “carry an unreasonable risk of the secularization of St. Anselm College.”

Ann M. Catino, the chair of Saint Anselm’s Board of Trustees, said the college’s accreditor, the New England Commission of Higher Education, wants an independent board.

"Instead of developing a governance structure aligning with the NECHE standards, where the Board has sufficient independence to fulfill its fiduciary duties to the College while preserving our Benedictine heritage, culture and identity, there has been resistance and opposition from the Abbot and a number of the Members of the Monastic Community," Catino said in a statement uploaded in full by the newspaper.