A Houston multi-millionaire who says he will request return of all the money he has contributed and loaned to Baylor University unless the school’s president is replaced is asking regents to hold an open discussion of issues confronting the university in July.
Sysco Corporation founder <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />John Baugh last month told Baylor’s board of regents that he wants several million dollars in outstanding loans and past contributions back unless they take immediate steps to resolved “acrimonious divisions within the university’s constituent groups.”<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
In a new letter to regents dated June 3, Baugh said the philosophy and methods of President Robert Sloan “have alienated the major constituencies of the university to the point that new leadership must be put into place for Baylor to survive and thrive in unimpeded fashion.”
Baugh said the majority of faculty, staff, alumni and other Baylor supporters “have lost confidence” in Sloan and “their trust level is irreparably damaged.”
“Every week that passes now diminishes the reputation and potential of Baylor,” Baugh said, adding it will take years to restore the university to its past level of strength.
Baugh asked the board of regents to dedicate their July meeting “to an open discussion of the issues which confront all of us who love Baylor and who want her to continue in an unfettered fashion in service to our fellow man to the glory of God.”
Baugh proposed an open meeting “to examine all facets of our current problems, with questions posed by those in attendance in seeking to resolve our dilemma.”
Baugh asked regents to consider his request by conference call and respond by June 21. Should his request be denied, “then more formal avenues must and will be sought,” he wrote.
Baugh spoke to Baylor regents in mid-May at a meeting in which Sloan kept his job by one vote, 18-17. The meeting also featured the first contested vote for chairman of the board, according to reports of the closed-door meeting, with Austin attorney Will Davis elected instead of past chairman Drayton McLane, who had been nominated for another term by a committee.
Baugh told board members he was considering withdrawing his support from Baylor to set up a new tax-exempt corporation to fund Baptist education in Texas should the regents “either by specific decision or default allow the university’s course to continue to be altered,” according to a text of his remarks.
Baugh said his comments were not “threats,” but he was “simply stating my position in an unequivocal fashion and advising you of my prospective plans.”
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.