. . . The old guard got rid of Mr. Dembski and then Mr. Sloan, who moved into the largely ceremonial position of chancellor. Still, Mr. Sloan’s Vision 2012 plan for Baylor is still on the books. The new president, John M. Lilley, former president of the University of Nevada, Reno, was a compromise candidate, so Baylor’s future was unclear.
Based on information from Baylor faculty members and graduate students to whom WORLD granted confidentiality because their careers would be in jeopardy, here is what happened: Mr. Beckwith came to Baylor in 2003, as associate director of the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies, over the objection of the institute’s funder, the Dawson family. Mr. Beckwith had argued for the constitutionality of teaching intelligent design. The late Mr. Dawson had been an early champion for teaching evolution at Baylor.
The institute was set up to promote the strict separation of church and state, and Mr. Beckwith’s pro-life activism and conservative politics put him at odds with most of his colleagues in his department. (One colleague, Jewish pro-Palestinian activist Marc Ellis, is one of “The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America” in David Horowitz’s new book, The Professors.)
“Beckwith was widely viewed as a conservative, Christian hire forced on the hallowed J.M. Dawson Institute by the administration,” one graduate student told WORLD. “To a veteran faculty already resentful of the move to transform the university into a research university with a stronger Christian character, Beckwith’s hire was symbolic of the problem.”
When tenure time approached, the anti-Sloan interim president, William Underwood, appointed psychology professor Jim Patton, the chair of the anti-Sloan faculty senate, to Mr. Beckwith’s tenure committee. In an e-mail message about another faculty member shown to WORLD, Mr. Patton wrote, “I clearly do not think highly of anyone who claims ID theory is science.” . . .
CORRECTION: Beckwith has published a lot more than the 28 papers cited in the article.