Baylor interim head quickly fires provost

Replacement to "bring people together"
The interim president of Baylor University, Bill Underwood, quickly acted on his first day on the job, replacing provost David L. Jeffrey, who last fall had taken up Underwood’s challenge to debate academic freedom during the Texas school’s contentious effort to redefine itself.

Underwood, who became interim head of the Baptist campus on June 1, appointed Randall O’Brien, the religion department chairman, to replace Jeffrey, who had been in that post for exactly two years.

“I appreciate Dr. Jeffrey’s contributions to Baylor, but at this particular point in our history,” said Underwood, who had been a law professor on the Waco campus, “I thought what the university needed was a person with Dr. O’Brien’s unique ability to bring people together.”

Underwood succeeded Robert B. Sloan Jr., who stepped down to the role of chancellor after a long struggle over plans to make Baylor a leading educational institution by 2012.


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