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President's leadership wrong for BU

Sept. 11, 2003

Staff editorial

In 1996, one year after his hiring, the Faculty Senate considered a no-confidence vote against President Robert B. Sloan Jr. Although dropped, this was the first sign of uneasiness within the Baylor community. Tuesday, after seven years of growing unrest, the Faculty Senate overwhelmingly passed a no-confidence vote for Sloan. The Baylor Board of Regents might discuss his future in this week's meeting. After intense discussion and debate, the editorial board of the Lariat has come to the conclusion that we, as well, do not have confidence in Baylor's president.

Under Sloan's guidance, we believe Baylor is heading down a dangerous path that very well may jeopardize its academic reputation and Baptist tradition.

However, our differences with Sloan are not necessarily with Baylor 2012 in its entirety. We commend Sloan for setting such a bold vision for Baylor's future. The goal of attaining Tier One status while remaining true to Baylor's tradition is noble. Many imperatives of Baylor 2012 are important goals, such as improving campus facilities, beefing up graduate programs and building a stronger sense of community on campus. We have no doubt that Sloan cares about Baylor.

Our differences, however, lay in the implementation of Sloan's vision and some of its implicit goals. We fear the enormous building program, possibly risking Baylor's financial stability and necessitating astronomical tuition hikes. We fear a lessened emphasis on classroom teaching and more emphasis on research will alienate students who attend the university because of personal interaction between students and professors. Finally, we fear that alleged religious litmus testing in faculty hiring practices may reduce diversity of thought among the faculty and risk the most important key necessary in a legitimate institution of higher learning: objective, critical scholarship in the classroom.

The Faculty Senate, along with three former regents chairmen, five current regents and former president Herbert Reynolds have expressed their concern for the university's direction. Without a doubt, a sizable contingent of the Baylor community is unnerved at the path on which Baylor is heading.

We, like the rest of the university, care deeply about its future. Our goal for Baylor is for it to emerge as a strong, nationally recognized university where academic freedom is a trademark. Unfortunately, we believe Sloan's direction for the university will not achieve these goals.