On his first day as interim president at Baylor University, William Underwood fired the Texas Baptist school's highly visible symbol of Vision 2012: provost David Jeffrey.
Jeffrey recruited many Christian faculty as part of Vision 2012, two goals of which are a deeper integration of Christian faith and scholarship, and that Baylor become a top-tier research university. After Jeffrey refused to resign, Underwood on June 1 ended his role as provost. The move further polarized the campus, already divided over Vision 2012 and the actions of Robert Sloan, the previous president who is now chancellor.
The next day at an all-campus event, Randall O'Brien, the incoming interim provost, observed, "We're an army shooting at each other. When will this madness end?" Underwood, in emphasizing the "proper" integration of faith and learning, said at the meeting, "We largely agree that the Christian character of this university is its greatest asset."
Recently, other pro-Sloan officials have stepped down, including three vice presidents: Eileen Hulme (student life), Marilyn Crone (enrollment), and Rick Creel (facilities).
Rodney Stark, the prominent sociologist who joined Baylor's faculty in 2004, told CT, "We've made incredible progress. [But] it's hanging in the balance right now."
As Baylor's regents gather for a three-day meeting this week, the Waco Tribune-Herald reports that the divisions that preceded Sloan's departure remain . A private investigator claiming to be hired by "rich and powerful" people is researching Underwood and has contacted at least one law professor, the newspaper reported. Baylor officials speculated that the investigator was trying to dig up dirt to oppose Underwood should he become a candidate for Baylor's presidency. ...1
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