Baylor University regents held a retreat from July 21-23 to discuss Baylor 2012 – the school’s 10-year vision. During the meeting, Baylor’s President Robert Sloan’s presidency was also considered -- whether or not to oust his commitment to Baylor.
Baylor is currently at tension because of the proposed Sloan’s Baylor 2012 vision, which urges Baylor to bring back Christian roots and become a top-tier university by expanding the school’s facilities, reducing class sizes and recruiting professors committed to academic excellence, scholarly research. Among the regents who oppose Sloan’s vision say the plan has increased debt, pushed tuition to levels unaffordable by students from middle-income families and forced instructors to meet narrow and rigid religious tests. The opponents have been trying to vote against Sloan and end his tenure but again for the third time, Chairman Will Davis of Austin announced that the board took no vote regarding Sloan’s presidency but rather reaffirmed Sloan’s vision
Twice in the last year – in September and May, the school’s Faculty Senate passed votes of no confidence in Sloan as president. Especially in May, Sloan was able to avoid resignation by a 18-17 vote.
At that same meeting, John Baugh, a major Baylor benefactor from Houston, warned he would ask the university to repay loans and return financial gifts he made if the board doesn’t change administration of Sloan. Being upset of what was discussed at the meeting regarding Sloan’s presidency, some regents claimed that there were enough votes to oust Sloan.
Davis said, “Divisive issues did not arise.”
On the other hand, Sloan said he was “very encouraged” by the meeting and especially by the regents’ strong affirming of Baylor 2012. “I am committed to Baylor University, and I plan to remain as Baylor’s president,” he said.
According to one regent, Ken Hall, president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, addressed the board at the beginning of the retreat candidly, addressing the board that the regent revolving around Baylor was detrimental to Baptist work in Texas, and they needed to resolve matters.
Richard Scott, vice president for development at Baylor, also spoke to the regents offering a similar plea for a different reason. Noting how fund-raising had become increasingly difficult due to the continuing controversy, he urged them to settle their differences.