Intelligent Design

Baylor President Lilley Fired

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This just in from Christianity Today. Lilley, you will recall, expelled Robert Marks’s Evolutionary Informatics Lab from Baylor (for that story, go here).

July 24, 2008 9:57AM
President of Baylor University Fired
John Lilley had angered alumni, faculty, and others with tenure decisions.

Ted Olsen

Baylor University’s board of regents has fired president John Lilley, whose presidency began and ended with disputes over tenure.

In 2006, associate professor of church-state studies Francis Beckwith was denied tenure. His appeal became a cause celebre in some evangelical academic circles, and he eventually prevailed. Lilley, however, continued to be viewed with suspicion by some Christian observers.

But it was April’s decision to deny tenure to 12 candidates that really set the drumbeats going. Most years, about 10 percent of faculty up for tenure are denied. This year, the 40 percent rejection rate sparked accusations of a “purge” and capricious standards. Seven of the ten faculty who appealed ended up receiving tenure.

A press release from Baylor says board member Harold Cunningham will be acting president until an interim president is named.

Updates to follow. The Waco Tribune-Herald will no doubt have coverage throughout the day.

5 Replies to “Baylor President Lilley Fired

  1. 1
    jpark320 says:


    Nuff said.

  2. 2
    O'Leary says:

    The thing is, if Lilley had to deny tenure to 4 times the number of candidates as the usual rate, that means that he either did not successfully communicate his vision or his dep chairs didn’t agree with it.

    I’d be surprised if many of the dep chairs were setting people up to fail – because it’s a black eye for everyone involved.

    Either way, he should be at a university where the faculty share his vision.

    Maybe in later years, the Bob Marks shutdown will be seen as a panicky effort to keep the lid on the kettles, when some of those kettles just have to blow.

  3. 3
    Charlie says:

    Gracious comment, Denyse O’Leary.

  4. 4
    Charlie says:

    In case that looks sarcastic, it isn’t.

  5. 5
    O'Leary says:

    Charlie, I didn’t think you were being sarcastic!

    I assumed you realize (as I do) that a U prez must sell his vision to the senior faculty (among other duties). It appears that Lilley was not able to do that at Baylor. Hence the crisis of a huge denial rate.

    I also wonder – but this one is for the analysts – why he did not sense a crisis looming as the numbers mounted. Or perhaps he did, but was caught in the flow of events. Getting caught in the flow of events is a servicable excuse at a low level of the hierarchy, not at a high one.

    The Bob Marks Evo Info Lab web site takedown? It demonstrates how anxious some were to expunge any idea that Baylor would challenge the status quo anywhere. This month there was a big meet at Altenberg to demo what – if anything -“evolution” now means.

    Well, choosing to shut Marks down just months before that event sends a message that Baylor would purchase its acceptance into the elite at the price of not contributing to the ongoing meltdown over “evolution”, but only to the spin that no meltdown is happening.

    Old Baylor faithfuls should opt for a better vision, in my view. The leftovers, left-behinds, and hangers on of the old order can do that job without help.

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