Rumors cascaded around Baylor like summer rainshowers the week of July 19. As Baylor's Board of Regents prepared to meet to evaluate the progress of the 2012 Vision, speculation once again focused on the future of Robert B. Sloan Jr.'s presidency.
But by 11 a.m. Friday, July 23, the skies had cleared -- at least for a while. Regents announced they had unanimously reaffirmed their commitment to the Vision, recognizing the positive impact it had made to the Baylor campus and the lives of its students.
A motion for a vote on the leadership of Sloan was not made and a vote was not taken, said Regent chair Will Davis.
Regents walked across campus viewing the North Village Residential Community, the Baylor Sciences Building, Mayborn Museum Complex, new landscaping and water features and other tangible evidence of 2012 initiatives. They also heard reports from faculty, students and administrators about 2012 programs and progress.
"The regents feel very strongly we have a responsibility to the University to go forward with its important programs. Divisive issues did not arise," Davis said.
"I have spent the last five to six weeks doing all that I can to repair any division that might have existed on the board," he said. "It will be my responsibility as long as I serve as chair to make sure we don't have any division."
Although discussion of Sloan's future at Baylor wasn't on the board's agenda, those for and against the embattled president talked of little else in the preceding days. Editorials and op-ed pieces in newspapers throughout the state weighed in on whether or not Sloan would be ousted. It was widely reported that a divided board voted 18-17 in favor of Sloan at its May meeting, although regents never officially confirmed that.
William Carden, spokesman for the Committee to Restore Integrity to Baylor - strong opponents of Sloan's leadership - voiced confidence early in the week that a vote would be taken and that Sloan would be removed.
Alumnus Don Riddle of Houston, expressed support for Baylor's direction and its president in an opinion piece that ran July 19 in the Dallas Morning News: "My hope is that all who love Baylor -- especially the regents -- will seriously consider the immense damage to the institution that would result by scuttling President Sloan and the Vision."
After the regents' meeting, Sloan said he is committed to Baylor and to the work ahead. "I'm not resigning because there's too much that's going on that is good, there's too much affirmation and too much that we're accomplishing," he said.
Graduate programs approvedThe Board of Regents approved a doctor of philosophy program in exercise, nutrition and preventive health at its summer meeting. It will be offered beginning this fall through the School of Education's Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation.
A master of theological studies degree at George W. Truett Theological Seminary also was approved to begin this fall. The two-year MTS program will allow students to combine theological studies with other Baylor graduate degrees in social work, music, education, business administration and law.
Regents also approved eight joint bachelor's/master's degree programs to be offered beginning this fall through the Department of Engineering in the areas of electrical and computer, mechanical, and biomedical engineering.