At the Baylor Board of Regents meeting Sept. 24, Robert was the name on everyone's lips once again, but this time Robert's Rules of Order played the larger role in the ongoing question of Robert B. Sloan Jr.'s role as president of the University.
A regent made a motion in executive session asking for Sloan's resignation, but immediately another regent made a subsidiary motion to postpone indefinitely the main motion, said Will Davis, chair of the board. A roll call vote on the subsidiary motion was called and passed. Davis did not reveal the names of the regents who brought the motions.
"The matter is dead and over for this meeting," Davis told reporters at the conclusion of the executive session. "Robert's Rules of Order does not preclude that it can come up again."
Regents also considered and unanimously rejected a proposal from the Faculty Senate to hold a facultywide referendum on Sloan's presidency. "I didn't think it was appropriate or proper for regents to make that decision," Davis said.
Jim Patton, FS chair and professor of neuroscience, psychology and biomedical studies, said he had conversations with Davis by phone after the regents' meeting. "I understand the regents' perspective ... that a faculty referendum may be seen by some as binding on the regents and that decisions on University leadership are made by the regents and not the faculty," Patton said.
Nevertheless, "a referendum would make it very clear where the faculty stand and in what proportion, and that might be an important piece of information for both administration and the regents," he said.
As to whether Baylor 2012 could progress without Sloan's leadership, Patton said, "What the Faculty Senate seems to be saying is that not only can progress toward implementation of 2012 happen without Dr. Sloan, but that the progress would be facilitated under new leadership."
Robert Miner, a FS member and assistant professor of philosophy in the Honors College, said he thought the regents were wise not to sponsor the referendum, and disagreed with the need for it. "My constituents tend to think that proposing a faculty referendum on Dr. Sloan is an insult to their intelligence," he said. "To vote 'yes' or 'no' on the man without having any idea of what the alternative would be is irrational. Moreover, a single-question, yes-no vote would shed no light on the real nuances of faculty opinion about complex issues."
Patton said that if FS elects to proceed with a referendum, it likely would be conducted by an outside consulting group and would include all full-time faculty and tenured administrators and exclude part-time lecturers and adjunct faculty. -- Vicki Marsh Kabat