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Baylor regents vote 31-4 to keep embattled president

WACO, Texas. (BP)–Baylor University’s board of regents voted Sept. 12 to keep embattled President Robert Sloan. The closed-meeting vote was 31-4.

The vote to keep Sloan came just days after the faculty senate passed a “no confidence” motion by a vote of 26-6. Those faculty senators were hoping the board of regents would fire Sloan.

“This has been a very long and hot summer, and I have to say the whole experience has been a very humbling experience,” Sloan said after the vote, according to the Associated Press.

Sloan said he would reach out to the Baylor family.

“The most important thing right now is to move forward to make sure that the Baylor family stands together,” he said. “We will find ways to communicate with each other, to listen to one another and to solve the challenges that we face.”

In recent days those for and against Sloan’s leadership have spoken out. On Sept. 11 some 200 students, including the student body president, held a rally on the campus to voice their support for Sloan.

Student body president Jeff Leach spoke to the board of regents Sept. 10.

“My report to the board of regents was that I think it would be a mistake to get rid of President Sloan,” he said, according to the Baylor Lariat student newspaper. “The board of regents needs to come out and say ‘These are the problems’ and ‘This needs to be fixed,’ and then rally behind Sloan, and things will get done a lot faster.”

Just a few days earlier, Sloan’s future seemed uncertain when the faculty senate gave him a vote of no confidence.

“Dr. Sloan’s presidency has produced a chilling work environment, a climate characterized by distrust, anxiety, intimidation and favoritism, as well as profound concerns about the sanctity of academic freedom and professional standards,” the resolution read.

“… But above all else, this climate is marked by fear — fear of losing one’s job, one’s hope for tenure, a promotion, a pay raise, or a friend, over an opinion or activity that might be labeled `disloyal’ or `not mission-friendly’ by a representative of the administration.”

Additionally, five regents, including Toby Druin, editor emeritus of the Baptist Standard, called on the board of regents to fire Sloan.

Earlier this summer Sloan was under fire for the implementation of his “Vision 2012” expansion campaign, which was enacted to transform the school from a teaching university into a “tier one” research university patterned after schools such as Princeton, Notre Dame and Harvard. Under the plan, professors would teach fewer classes in order to pursue publishing, and graduate programs would be bolstered by the employment of nationally recognized scholars.

But Sloan’s critics became more vocal when a series of embarrassing and sometimes shocking athletic department stories made the news, including the murder of a basketball player and an alleged cover-up of NCAA violations. Sloan placed the men’s basketball program on probation.

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