Battle at Baylor University Over Pro-Life Professor’s Tenure Continues

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 7, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Battle at Baylor University Over Pro-Life Professor’s Tenure Continues Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 7
, 2006

Waco, TX ( — A battle a Baylor University over why a highly regarded pro-life professor has been denied tenure continues to rage. In March, Dr. Frank Beckwith, an associate professor of church-state studies, was denied tenure despite a long list of prominent publications, awards and honors.

The battle was seen by many as a struggle between conservatives and liberals at the Baptist University, which some say is angling to become the Protestant version of Notre Dame but whisking away the denominations pro-life values to do so.

Beckwith now says that the former chairman of his department, who has resigned under controversy, led a campaign to prevent his tenure.

Beckwith, who has written books on the subject of abortion that some consider the best ever, is appealing the university’s decision to deny him tenure. The decision was based on accusations that he disregarded curriculum and used the classroom to discuss his Christian and pro-life views, a claim he says is false.

According to a report in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Beckwith says former department chair Derek Davis never provided him with the guidelines for how to achieve tenure and encouraged colleagues to vote against him.

Davis, who resigned after failing to cite sources in an article he wrote, says that’s not true.

The Chronicle reports that Beckwith is receiving support from a number of professors, including some on the other side of the debate. C. Stephen Evans, a professor of philosophy and humanities, has said he will consider resigning his post if Baylor does not reverse its decision.

He told the journal, Beckwith is being "railroaded for his conservative views, even though he clearly merits tenure on the basis of his scholarly work and teaching."

Beckwith also came under attack years ago when members of the J.M. Dawson family called on Baylor University to remove Beckwith as the associate director of Baylor’s J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies.

Dawson was a 1904 Baylor graduate who served as pastor of First Baptist Church of Waco and wrote a book advocating the absolute separation of church and state. The family said Beckwith’s pro-life and Christian views on creation-evolutiuon ran counter to Dawson’s.

Before coming to Baylor, Beckwith held full-time faculty appointments at Trinity International University, Whittier College and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. he is the author of such distinguished books as "The Abortion Controversy 25 Years After Roe v. Wade" and "Politically Correct Death: Answering the Arguments for Abortion Rights."

Baylor is expected to make a formal decision this month on Beckwith’s tenure.

Related web sites:
Dr. Francis Beckwith –