Friday, April 20, 2007

Liberal Fundamentalism Is No Different Than Conservative Fundamentalism: Both Are Intolerant

For those who think my angst is only against the intolerance of conservative fundamentalism in the SBC, I thought I might show how liberal fundamentalism is just as bad in Baptist circles. Whereas conservative fundamentalists will often discriminate against and demean women, liberal fundamentalists will often discriminate against and demean evangelicals.

My daughter is a student Baylor University in Waco, Texas. There is an English professor named Joseph Jeyaraj (pronounced "jayrash") who joined the faculty of Baylor University's English Department during 2001 in a tenure track position. Dr. Jeyaraj's Christian testimony is very moving. He is not only a solid, evangelical Christian, he is an outstanding scholar. For some unknown reason, Dr. Jayaraj was given no document at the time of his hiring which would have informed him of the standards by which he would be judged when it came time for tenure review.

In 2003 a new tenure track policy document was approved by Baylor University's Provost's Office outlining the standards to be followed in the English Department for adjudicating faculty members' candidacy for tenure. This document and information was also withheld from Dr. Jeyaraj. The document states:

Each year, the chair will appoint three members of the tenured faculty to a Teaching Review Committee. Members will serve for three years, starting in fall 2003. One member will be replaced in 2004, another in 2005, and the third in 2006. After 2004, all newly-appointed members of the committee will serve for three years, but will be replaced at the staggered intervals suggested by the above. Barring extraordinary circumstances, the membership of the Teaching Review Committee will rotate through all members of the tenured faculty before any member is asked to repeat this service. Criteria for Tenure: English Department, Baylor University, 1 March 2003", p. 5

This Teaching Review Committee was designed, according to the manual, to provide mentors for tenure track faculty in the English Department and to assist in the growth of the faculty member's classroom skills and scholarship. Joseph never experienced this mentoring due to the information being withheld from him by his department chair. The reason for not informing Joseph of the Teaching Review Committee and the official tenure review process is seen by what happened next.

The English Department discontinued Joseph in 2004. However, due to the protests of those in the know, the university acknowledged shortly thereafter that a mistake had been made and it reversed the decision. Soon after this reversal, at the urging of the Provost, Dean Daniel appointed a committee to independently investigate Joseph's performance. The committee fully exonerated Dr. Jeyaraj, and in a report delivered in 2005, the Daniel committee said that Joseph's teaching, research, service and collegiality were all good.

Here's Where Things Get Worse

However, despite the exoneration by the Daniel Committee, in the spring of last year, 2006, the English Department of Baylor University discontinued Joseph's employment again. It was said he was denied tenure because he did not follow the approved 2003 guidelines for tenure track positions. This was when Joseph discovered for the first time that there was such a document -- it was never offered to him or explained to him -- but then used against him for termination.

In a letter dated March 20, 2006, Dean Nordt summarized the reasons for discontinuing Dr. Jeyaraj:

"According to several tenured faculty members, [Dr. Jeyaraj] has not made satisfactory progress [in the area of collegiality]. Others believe Dr. Jeyaraj's difficulties in getting along with his colleagues stem from cultural differences".

It was less than a year earlier that the Daniel committee, appointed to investigate the unjust discontinuation, reported:

In sum, reliable first-hand accounts of Dr. Jeyaraj's collegiality suggest that, while there have been misunderstandings with some faculty members, no problems in this area would indicate serious deficiencies. This committee was formed, in part, to respond to concerns that Dr. Jeyaraj was denied tenure based on allegations received at second and third hand; therefore, this committee must avoid repeating that error by not relying on information that may be in a personnel file to which we have been denied access (emphasis mine). According to all first hand accounts, this committee has heard, no serious problems with collegiality exist.

For several years Joseph's chair, Dr. Maurice Hunt, maintained files, which he refused to disclose, but based his public recommendations upon. The usual tactic of those who wish to get rid of someone without having to prove cause is to simply say, "Trust (us), there's a problem. We won't tell you what the problem is, nor give you evidence that exists, but it is there."

One might ask, 'Why is Dr. Joseph Jeyaraj treated in such an unjust manner, as compared to other tenure track faculty?' I would propose that just as conservative fundamentalists are intolerant of those who are different than them, liberal fundamentalists are also intolerant of anyone who is unlike them. I imagine that most Baylor parents, like me and Rachelle, who are paying $30,000 a year in tuition for their child's college education would much rather see evangelicals in tenure track positions rather than known Marxists or classic liberals as Baylor University has hired in the past. Dr. Jeyaraj is the kind of professor I desire my daughter to have, and the obvious desire by those in control of the tenure review process to remove Joseph is troubling.

If someone responds, 'But surely there are just reasons academic reasons for discontinuing Joseph Jeyaraj?' the answer would be 'No, there is not." I have been informed that academic departments at Baylor grant tenure on the strength of five or six scholarly articles in peer-reviewed journals, requiring that three or more of the articles appear in top-tier journals for the particular area of discipline. Joseph has two articles in print in tier-one journals, one article in print in an Indian journal, two articles in print in conference proceedings (these had been submitted to the conferences, and were thus, we assume, peer-reviewed), and four articles forthcoming, two of which are in tier-one journals. One of the articles in print is going to be reprinted in a book to be published by a reputable publisher in Joseph's field. He has acceptance letters for all the forthcoming articles.

In addition, the Daniel Committee, just one year earlier summarized the excellent work of Dr. Jeyaraj as follows:

The evaluators were unanimously positive about his teaching; his rapport with students; his ability to mix quizzes, lecture, discussion, and analysis of texts; his effective use of examples to illustrate rhetorical strategies in technical writing; and his linking assignments and discussion to a specifically Baylor culture. Evaluators noticed that Dr. Jeyaraj chats amiably with students as they enter the classroom. During the class, he moves around the room, encouraging students in their in-class assignments and gently prodding their participation in discussion. Dr. Jeyaraj was also able to weave into the conversation instructive comments about the complexities of globalized communication. No one noticed any evidence of tensions in the classroom or deficiencies in the manner of presentation; on the contrary, all concur that Dr. Jeyaraj is doing an admirable job of engaging students and making them active learners. He brings to his students both an expertise in the art of technical writing and a global perspective that they rarely encounter at Baylor.

Again, why the harsh treatment of Joseph by his own department? One can't help but assume that since Joseph is an evangelical Christian and a supporter of Baylor's 2012 Vision that the politics of the fundamentalist liberals have gotten in the way of fair treatment of Dr. Jeyaraj. It's the Klouda and Clippard issue in reverse. One wonders if a prejudice against Joseph's brand of Christianity is the cause of the unusually harsh judgment of his collegiality and teaching. I am beginning to discover that some junior faculty in reactionary departments at Baylor often suffer for their Christian and academically progressive views.

Our children at Baylor deserve better than this kind of treatment of the very professors we desire to teach them. I am putting the regents and administration on notice that liberal fundamentalism causes me just as much consternation as conservative fundamentalism.

And I will do something to stop both from destroying our Southern Baptist agencies, schools and ministry. But I'm not sure it's me Baylor should worry about. Inconsistency in the review process of tenure track professors, or violating the institution's guidelines for tenure track review, or intentionally withholding tenure track guidelines from faculty -- and then using those same guidelines for discontinuation of a professor -- will draw the attention of accrediting agencies.

Let's hope Baylor University wakes up before it's too late.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson


Anonymous said...

Rex Ray said…
Here are some synonyms for fundamental: basic, original, essential, important, vital, and necessary.

(“Necessary”—that was the word James gave Gentiles for following rules. Was he the first fundamentalist?)

Is the dictionary correct in saying “fundamentalism is religious beliefs based on a literal interpretation of the Bible”? It didn’t say when they have control; it’s our way or the highway.

I believe most firings are based on jealously and revenge.

Four members were kicked out of church at Colleyville, Texas by the pastor because they helped to prevent him selling the church and moving it to another town. But he said they were removed for a reason not disclosed to avoid embarrassment. That was insult to injury. This year he was told to leave, and one of the four was named ‘citizen of the year.’ Sometimes the little guy wins.

I hope it is the same with Joseph Jeyaraj.

Big Daddy Weave said...


I'll grant you that liberal fundamentalism is real. Liberal fundamentalists are no more tolerant of dissent than the fundamentalists within your own Convention.

But, what does this post have to do with liberal fundamentalists? Who are these liberal fundamentalists? Was Joseph Jeyaraj dismissed because of his theology? Wade, the English Department is quite conservative. Surely very conservative-evangelicals such as our former Provost, David Lyle Jeffrey and Ralph Wood had no role in the dismissal of Jeyaraj? After all, they are two of the most powerful professors in that department.

Maybe Jeyaraj got a raw deal. Departmental politics can be nasty. And there are usually two sides to a story in academic life.

But how are the professors who helped dismiss Jeyaraj liberal fundamentalists (and not conservative)? At the school the size of Baylor, someone gets denied tenure virtually every year - whether they deserved it or not (and some as of very recently have not). That's the nature of academics. Did Jeyaraj dismissal have anything to do with his beliefs? The subject of his publications?

Also, you stated that Baylor discontinued Jeyaraj's employment in Spring 2006. However, he taught two courses in the Fall of 2006 and is currently teaching three courses and serving as a thesis supervisor. English 3300 at 10 and 1 on MWF and Post Colonial Lit. So, when will his employment actually be discontinued?

ml said...

Wade, what do you expect? Maybe Union would have been a better choice.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like he got a raw deal all right. Wish though there was a bit more "meat" about his theology verses that of those who who denied him tenure. Regardless though: what's sauce for goose should be sauce for the gander.
John Fariss

Anonymous said...


I am curious. If you were to teach a seminary class to men training to be pastors, how much time would you recommend them to devote to blogging. Would you be willing to provide a post on what you believe the week of a pastor should look -- I would love to see a hourly breakdown of how you spend your week. I am considering jumping into the blogging world but I don't think I would have enough time to put into it as it appears you do - can you help? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

The English Department Mafia is already spinning and lying:
Drs. Jeffery and Wood were kicked out of the department. Jeffery is at the Honors College, and Wood in religion. English Dept. Conservative? What a joke!
These English professors control things:
Tom Hanks, Jay Losey, Nancy Chinn, Diana Vitanza. They all go to Lakeshore Baptist Church, a church that supports Planned Parenthood financially.

Anonymous said...

Lakeshore does not support Planned Parenthood financially.

Lakeshore and six or seven other churches have sponsored the Nobody's Fool Conferences which is a half-day sex ed program for 5th through 9th graders. Sponsoring churches provide volunteers and promotional assistance. No money.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that's even more "conservative."
For those of you outside of Waco, Nobody's Fool (only PP's fools!) is a Planned Parenthood conference.
Lakeshore does give money to other Planned Parenthood programs as well. Now expect somebody to say that they are only supporting women's health. That's a lie too. A local Christian millionaire (the owner of Curves for Women) has endowed a local health clinic so that poor women never have to set foot in a PP facility.

Kaylor said...

It does sound like it the reverse of the Klouda case, though I cannot think of any other recent cases that would be similar.

Anonymous said...

Here are pages with the 2004 and 2005 Nobody's Fool co-sponsors and underwriters. Among the co-sponors is Lake Shore Baptist Church. See here (2004) and here (2005). Among the 2004 underwriters is current president of Mercer University, Bill Underwood, the favorite choice of the Lakeshore mafia to succeed Robert Sloan as president of Baylor. Fortunately for Baylor, the Board of Regents aborted the idea.

Nobody's Fool is a Planned Parenthood program. (see here). To co-sponsor it and send one's children to it seems to indicate that one supports it. Imagine if it were a KKK program. Would it be inaccurate to say that the church supports racism?

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to debate the value of Nobody's Fool. That's pointless. Though, I hope you've given up your Shipley's Donuts, Girl Scout Cookies, and put down the Waco Trib since they co-sponsored the program as well.

Fortunately for Baylor, they didn't abort the idea of ousting Sloan.

This is just more of the same.

Sloanies vs. Anti-Sloans.

How liberal fundamnetalism fits into that equation, I have no idea?

Anonymous said...

And they did not abort 2012 either; which is why Dr. Jeyeraj is on the verge of winning his case.
And for the record, I've given up Shipley Donuts, and cancelled the Trib. I buy girl scout cookies because they rescinded they support for PP.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Speaking of newspapers, don't forget to read them tomorrow, if you live in Texas...

Anonymous said...

Good grief! Sloan is to busy raising MILLIONS of dollars (unlike Lilley) to care about this.
This is about justice, and about a General Counsel that is wishing he had stayed in the army right now...
Instead of trying to defend people who keep imaginary asbestos files :)

Anonymous said...

You're right. They didn't.

But being an evangelical and a pro-2012 supporter (as all new hires in recent years are) does not mean a professor deserves tenure. Maybe Jeyerak is the victim of Department politics. There have been victims on both sides of the Baylor divide.

But what does an English prof being denied tenure have to do with liberal fundamnetalism? A fundamentalist on the left or right tolerates no dissent on matters pertaining to religion/theology. So, what's religion got to do with this Baylor English Prof?

Obviously Klouda had everything to do about theology. This decision has what to do about theology?

-Baylorfans commentary on this post HERE. said...

Mr. Anonymous Who Wonders About the Time It Takes to Blog,

It comes naturally to me. I also don't dialogue a great deal in the comment string with people who ask questions that have nothing to do with the post.

It takes too much time.


Anonymous said...

This is about theology.
Hanks, Losey (Gowilde on Baylorfans), Chinn,and Hunt do not want evangelical professors.

Anonymous said...

Guess I'll have to take you at your word on that...

Big assertion without any facts.

This post smeared a group of people (whoever gets included in that liberal fundy camp) without providing evidence that this decision had anything to do whatsoever with religion...

Anonymous said...

"Others believe Dr. Jeyaraj's difficulties in getting along with his colleagues stem from cultural differences."
Liberal racists?
You Southerners are something else!
In California, Lilley would be fired immediately!

Anonymous said...

This quote from Baylorfans sums things up rather nicely

"Even if I accept (for the moment) all of the recounting of events/quoting of documents contained in the essay as indisputable fact, the most I could conclude is that Dr. J. was treated poorly.

Which event that was reported, or which quote from a document, supports the leap to the conclusion that he was driven out because he was an evangelical Christian and 2012 supporter?" said...

It is amazing how the people who are treated poorly are those who don't fit into one's philosphical or theological presuppositions.

Anonymous said...

a) Jeffrey left of his own will to go to the Honors College. Cushy office in Morrison Hall and all. He ain't the English Martyr some of y'all make him out to be.

b) The BaylorFans poster is right--why is it that every time someone of a conservative bent is ousted, it's always because of said bent. Um, no. People at Baylor have been unapologetically Christian since 1845. That's not anything new. And it's far too easy to take part of the story--the most public pieces--and fabricate what happens in between. And I hate to say it, but most of that inside information is going to stay inside--mainly because tenure is a private, personal process and NOBODY wants to drag any prof's name through the mud (unless they've already dragged themselves out there on their own).

c) Tenure everywhere seems to be a complete cluster-f...well, a mess. And it's taking folks on both "sides" and the "middle" and the "completely neutral" of the Sloan/anti-Sloan debate. I don't know Jeyeraj at all, but he sounds like a good enough guy to get the job. If Baylor didn't change its policies every two seconds and agreed to adjudicate each tenure case with the requirements under which each person was hired, then all "sides" of the debate would come out for the better.

Anonymous said...


"The BaylorFans poster is right--why is it that every time someone of a conservative bent is ousted, it's always because of said bent?"

I meant a question mark there. Forgive me, but I can't edit posts without a blogger account. ;)

Anonymous said...

Rex Ray said…
Religious revenge: My daddy served in World War I, but was turned down for World War II because of age. With the help of Sam Rayburn he became an army chaplain. He was in the 4th Armored Division under Patton. His group landed three days after D-Day and he stayed on the front until the war ended. They called him ‘Old moss face’, but he was a tough as they come. First in the obstacle course, sat on the judo instructor, and never lost a wrestling match. The commanding officer investigated a crowd of men and there was my daddy…sitting on an Arizona cowboy who had promised to come to ‘church’ if any sissy preacher could wrestle him. Instead of being reprimanded over conduct, the commander said, “I see we have one convert today.” Sure enough, a month later the cowboy accepted Christ. My daddy was decorated four times including the Bronze Star, but had made enemies by being on the front. The head chaplain was Catholic and had declared all chaplains were to stay 50 miles behind the front as they could care for the souls of the dead. My father told him he took his orders from God. The first soldier killed in his division died in his arms. The young man said the day before, he thought he would be killed and had asked Jesus to save him…“I was so happy; I thought I’d live forever…tell my mother I’ll meet her in heaven.” A reply said, “You’ll never know how much you letter meant to us.” Catholic soldiers asking why their chaplains were missing caused embarrassment. Catholics tried every trick in the book to get him off the front. They promoted him to a high rank that would move him to the rear, but he turned it down. Charges of ‘physically unfit’ didn’t work. He even got an order from Patton to report to the head chaplain for duty. But daddy went to Patton where the order was declared a forgery. When the war ended, coming home was based on ‘points’ such as age, family, etc. My daddy should have been some of the first, but month after month went by and he didn’t come. Mother didn’t tell us he was a prisoner of the Army. It was time for revenge. Believing a pack of lies, some general told my daddy, “You can resign or be court marshaled.” Knowing the lies would be proven false, they sent a man to dig up any dirt he could find. After weeks of ‘hunting’, the man told my daddy, “Never have I heard such praise. I just want to say thank you.” His authorities busted him from sergeant to private because he talked to my daddy before making his report to them. They moved him to a woman’s dorm, saying that was all that was available. These were German girls who had married soldiers and were waiting for ‘paperwork’ to join their husbands in the U.S. After a long time, and ‘nothing’ happened, he entered his room and there was a girl in his bed. He started reading the Bible to her and in two minutes an officer opened the door and said, “Oh, sorry sir, didn’t know you were entertaining.” He left in a rush, but my daddy grabbed his collar and told him he was on to their tricks. The girl said she was told to comply or her paperwork would be canceled. Word finally leaked out on what was going on, and the guilty got their ‘just’ rewards.

In 1987, John R. Erickson, author of 21 books about ‘Hank the Cow Dog’, helped my daddy (age 89) finish his autobiography. All it had about the above was: “Chaplain Ray stayed in Germany after the war was over, until he was given permission to return home in 1946.”

My mother needed a ‘Wade Burleson’ when her four kids were 5, 7, 13, and 13 years old.

Sorry this is so long, but I feel better.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Dr. Jeyaraj was not treated fairly based on the information you have presented here. I also agree that "liberal fundamentalism" is as dangerous as a conservative fundamentalism, at least when the proponents of either side act with a clubhouse mentality rather than striving for dialogue and compromise. What the facts here do not fully support is your assumption that Jeyaraj was dismissed because of his evangelicalism and support of Baylor 2012. This may well be the case--we all know that there are certain liberal biases present in much of the academic world and politics at Baylor have been such a mess the last few years that anything is possible. I don't think it's clear based upon the facts as presented in this post, though. Possible, yes--probable? Not so sure on that one--at least not without more information.

I was a bit surprised to see the assertions from a few (anonymous of course) posters that Dr. Hanks doesn't want evangelical faculty in the English department. There has been a lot of turnover since I was at Baylor, but I did take a couple courses under Dr. Hanks. I can't say that I ever discussed his theology with him one on one, but as we studied things like the writings of Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, Piers Plowman, and other Christian-themed literature his faith came through in the classroom. I can also say that he is only the professor I had during my four years at Baylor who invited a class to join him not only for lunch at his home but also to a Sunday School class which he taught. (And incidentally succeeded in getting a couple students in church at least for one Sunday who were hostile to Christianity.) I haven't kept up with the ins and outs of Baylor politics since I graduated, but based on my experience with Dr. Hanks I would be very suprised to find him on some secret crusade to oust evangelicals from the English department. If anyone has evidence to the contrary, fine--but I think you should identify yourself first.

Leigh Ann

Anonymous said...

Did Hanks ever screamed at you?
He just did to a student, two weeks ago.

Anonymous said...

Remember that Joseph's plight is not about being denied tenure. He was denied a contract renewal so that he can be a faculty member for one more year and apply for tenure. Standard practice usually means a contract every year until one is up for tenure, unless one has acted in ways that are far below professional expectations. Of course, when one is up for tenure one must make a case for tenure. But Joseph was not even permitted to stay one (or two) more years to even make this case. And since there was nothing untoward about Joseph's appointment, only one conclusion makes sense: it's typical political Baylor machinations.

As for Shipley Donuts and The Waco Trib, I don't consume either one. The latter is the "the Sotuhern White-Boy Retarded Pravda," the most incompetently written piece of journalistic crap one can imagine. Shipley's Donuts is just bad for you. But neither Shipleys nor the Trib claim to carry the banner of Christ, who was incarnate and fully man while in Mary's womb. Lakeshore counselors would have probably encouraged the unwed Mary to abort our Savior, since she fit the profile of the Planned Parenthood client: young, unmarried, and poor.

Anonymous said...

I'm not trying to be provocative here, but I need to ask this obvious question. Don't you consider your daughter's presence there, and your payment of $30,000 to them in tuition and fees, an endorsement of the university? You're a well known pastor from a prominent Oklahoma Baptist congregation. Unless this isn't widely known, I'm sure you've had your share of questions about having a child at Baylor.

Ever since I came back to Texas in '94, I've heard the arguments about Baylor. Some of the strongest, most conservative evangelical pastors and church leaders I've ever met are alumni. I know several board members and faculty members who are the kind of Christians you've described Dr. Jeyaraj to be. I've also heard and read about some of the "liberal" goings on there. Some of that can be dismissed as vengeful politics on the part of critics, but some of it has been disturbing. The fact that you have a child there was a tilt in their favor, at least, in my book.

In light of your recent blog regarding Sheri Klouda, I must say, you've treated both incidents fairly. It will be interesting to compare the outcome and the reaction of the administration in both cases. Baylor and Southwestern may have a whole lot more in common than either school would like to admit.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I hate to double post, but I left out another comment.

I did notice that Dr. Jeyaraj had not yet achieved tenure, and that his dismissal was, in actuality, not having his contract renewed. He certainly sounds like someone whose credentials and teaching ability would have been an asset to the university, and I don't have any reason not to believe what you've posted here. However, this is Texas, and "at will" is the rule for all employers in the state. What that means is that an employee can be dismissed, or not have a contract renewed, without cause or reason. And in Dr. Jeyaraj's case, without tenure, it won't register with an accreditation agency, either. said...


What registers with accrediting agencies is establishing tenure track policy, then either ignoring said policy or excluding a tenure track professor from being aware of said policy.

You are correct regarding the lack of termination. He was discontinued, and I believe that is the term I used.

Anonymous said...

I suspect that Wade sent his daughter to Baylor because of 2012.
There are pockets at Baylor, where serious Christian scholarship is taking place; but you have to choose your professors carefully.
You may have professors like Hanks using Christian themes; but not seeing Christianity as being incompatible with homosexuality and Christianity. But that's the exception and not the rule. Baylor has reaffirmed her stances on hot potato issues time after time. And with the Board of Regents firmly in the hands of orthodox Christians, that is not going to change anytime soon.
Which lead us back to Jeyeraj: Hanks, Hunt, Losey, and Chinn, are fiercely fighting to get rid of people like him, because their cabal is weakening.

Anonymous said...

I meant to say that Hanks does not see Christianity being incompatible with homosexuality and abortion; although his Christianity may not be compatible with Christianity too!

Webster7 said...

Whereas conservative fundamentalists will often discriminate against and demean women, liberal fundamentalists will often discriminate against and demean evangelicals.


I don't see the comparison you're drawing between the two events. While the Klouda dismissal was clearly made for theological reasons, you haven't produced ANY evidence that Jeyaraj was dismissed for theological reasons. You "assume" that is the case, but you don't actually know, and you haven't produced any evidence to back up your assertion except for a vague reference about "known Marxists or classic liberals". This leaves me confused as to why you think this is an issue of "liberal fundamentalism" and why you can compare Baylor to Southwestern in this instance.

Given this confusion, I have some questions:

(1) Do you have any evidence that Jeyaraj was dismissed for theological reasons?

(2) Can you point to specific faculty members who are "Marxists" or "classic liberals"? And could you define what you mean by "classic liberal" (since that term is often means different things to different people)?

(3) If you can't answer (1) and (2), could you explain what, beyond your own assumptions, legitimates the conclusions you've drawn in your post?

Thanks! I think answers to these questions will clear up my current confusion over how the situation at Southwestern has anything to do with the situation at Baylor.

Anonymous said...

Those are legitimate questions. There is an easy way to find out: Baylor should name an independent commission to investigate this situation, as it was done in 2004.
Easy, right?
Wrong! The General Counsel of the university does not want this. Why? He is not partial, he favors the secular forces working against Dr. Jeyeraj. This independent commission could find out:
1- Was he discriminated upon based on race?
2- Did people like Dr. Hanks, & Hunt persecuted him for his evangelical beliefs?
3- Were students recruited to give him poor evaluations?
4- Where is the "private file" the Chair (Hunt) alleges to have in his possession?
Don't ask Wade to give you the evidence; he is not even in Waco.
But the charges are solid; and the truth will be known. The burden of proof is on Baylor.
Why do you think Webejamin (Hanks) and Gowilde (Losey) have not said anything on
It is obvious that Dr. Jeyaraj is not...

Randall Newton said...

As a Baylor grad who is a Christian yet not a Baptist or a Texan, I find much of the wrangling that goes on to be gloried mudwrestling. Perhaps if you changed "fundamentalism" to "legalism" it would make some things clearer. Legalism is any man-made rule structure that places conformity over grace, law over love.

Anonymous said...

At the moment the burden of proof is on Wade.

He made the assertions but provided no evidence, no proof.

The charge of liberal fundamentalism is merely an (at the present) unfounded attack on people that Wade doesn't even know.

If there is evidence to support Wade's assumptions, lets see it. We're waiting...

Anonymous said...

Yes, there is evidence.
You will see it. Better yet, many will see it, in a forum bigger than this one.

Webster7 said...

Don't ask Wade to give you the evidence; he is not even in Waco.

That's why I asked the questions I did. No evidence has been presented and Wade doesn't seem to be in a position to know. For that reason, I'm wondering why he drew the conclusions he did, that's why I asked for three points of clarification. I think it's fair to ask for evidence, since the comparison Wade drew in his post isn't warranted without it.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Charlie!
Get back to work in Pat Neff. Daddy is gonna need you :)

Anonymous said...

Wade, let's be clear that Baylor is not a Southern Baptist institution. The university's primary affiliation is with the BGCT, not the SBC. And like it or not, the BGCT is moderate-controlled. Baylor is an independent institution with a Board of Trustees who, thus far, have seen fit to keep the university moderate.

I concur with Webster7: is there any evidence to suggest that Jeyaraj's tenure discontinuation was actually because of his evangelical beliefs? Your post makes quite a leap into assuming that the only possible remaining reason for his failure to achieve tenure is his evangelicalism or his support for 2012.

I worked in the English department at Baylor for three years and can attest to the fact that departmental politics there have always been rather nasty. It's a fact of academic life that tenure decisions are often based on personal feelings. That said, I do not appreciate the bordering-on-slanderous comments made by some of the anonymous commenters here concerining the faith and practice of professors I know to be committed Christians.

Wade, I'd like to know whether Jeyaraj tried to get access to the documents that outlined what would be required of him for tenure. Did he ask for the document? It seems highly unusual for a junior faculty member to not make an effort from the beginning of his or her career to find out the specific requirements for tenure. And based on his publications, it sounds like he knew that he needed a certain number of articles published in peer-reviewed journals, etc.

As for his research, it sounds to me as though the denial of tenure could plausibly have been based on academic matters only. Why hasn't Jeyaraj published a book Baylor wants to be a Tier-one research institution, and you don't get tenure at a Tier 1 if you haven't published your dissertation in book form.

Published conference proceedings are not generally considered peer-reviewed publications. Peer reviews are anonymous; the fact of having presented a paper at a conference prevents that anonymity and therefore means that published conference proceedings are often the result of collegial relationships between academics in a field.

It's also very, very important to look at this in light of the controversy surrounding Robert Sloan. There were many junior faculty hired by the Sloan administration who were disliked from the beginning because they were hired by Sloan. (To be fair, Sloan's system of hiring faculty under the 2012 initiative was offensive to most academics: his administration often bypassed normal departmental procedures for faculty hiring.) Again, this could fit into personal reasons for the denial of tenure.

Decisions about academic life are not fair. They are highly subjective, from the admissions process on, and very much based on personal relationships. It's the responsibility of a junior faculty member to learn who he/she has to make happy, and what it will take to do so. You have to remember that these decisions are not taken lightly; once someone is granted tenure, they are part of that department for the next 30-40 years. Tenured faculty members have the right to vote against a junior faculty member for whatever reasons they wish. It's not fair, but that's how the system works, and anyone who accepts an academic job knows this.

BDW, it's customary for a professor to be allowed to stay on at a university for a year after the denial of tenure, so that that professor may have time to search for another job.

Anonymous said...

You sound like a fair person. If you read carefully, Wade never called Baylor a Southern Baptist Institution. But even the BGCT opposes abortion.
Jeyeraj is not asking for tenure. He's asking for due process. He was taking of the tenure track with one year to go.
As for publications, it is either a book or "X" amount of articles.
In any case, he should have the opportunity to make his case before the tenure committee.
The Provost's lack of courage in this situation, is undermining his presidential ambitions. Poor guy, trying to pleased everybody; he has pissed off EVERYBODY!

Anonymous said...

baylor alum,

would you say the same things about dr. klouda and tenure and such?


Webster7 said...


I'm pretty disappointed that you've chosen not to answer my three questions. I think they're fair questions to ask, given the content and conclusions drawn in your post. The lack of answers leaves me confused. The only option I have, therefore, is to follow your example and post what I "can't help but assume" are the answers to these questions.

(1) Do you have any evidence that Jeyaraj was dismissed for theological reasons?

Answer: No.

(2) Can you point to specific faculty members who are "Marxists" or "classic liberals"? And could you define what you mean by "classic liberal" (since that term is often means different things to different people)?

Answer: No.

(3) If you can't answer (1) and (2), could you explain what, beyond your own assumptions, legitimates the conclusions you've drawn in your post?

Answer: The conclusions are speculative assumptions.

If these answers are wrong, please feel free to correct them.

Anonymous said...


I wouldn't say the same thing about Dr. Klouda, because in her case, her employment was quite obviously terminated because she is a woman, and termination on the basis of gender is illegal. My understanding of the Klouda case is that there was nothing she could have done (in terms of teaching, publications, or collegiality) to change the outcome of her case. That's far from clear in this situation.

That said, I see your point, that it could be argued that the two cases are very similar. I wouldn't make that argument, primarily because neither Wade nor anyone else (as far as I know) has offered actual evidence that Jeyaraj was fired because his faith was "too evangelical" or some other religious reason.

If valid evidence were forthcoming, I'd have to think through it again. But I really believe that this has more to do with the longstanding tensions over 2012 and over whether Baylor should be a teaching institution (which, after all, is what most currently tenured professors thought they were signing up for when they joined the Baylor faculty 10, 20, or 30 years ago) or a research institution (which is what most of the new junior faculty are focused on). Junior faculty were sold on 2012 vision by the Sloan administration and naturally assumed that the entire Baylor faculty was committed to all of the specifics of Vision 2012. That was not then, and is not now the case. In a way, both sides got the short shrift: many of the "old" faculty never wanted to be at a place that values research over teaching, and most of the "new" faculty were somewhat misled about what they'd be getting into.

One can hardly underestimate the level of anger and distrust that pervaded the campus while Sloan was president. Much of that distrust has transferred to those people Sloan hired. If I had to guess (and I don't know Jeyaraj from Adam), I'd bet that this is the root of what's going on, rather than some animosity towards a person simply because he's a committed Christian.

Anonymous said...

Sloan left, but the plan remains: 2012. More important than Sloan, Lilley, BUAA, and the senate is the fact that the Board of regents has said that there is no going back. Research and Christian identity are here to stay.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I know. I'm not making an argument about whether 2012 is good for Baylor or not. I'm just trying to explain the dynamics of what happened, and how that might relate to this case.

Anonymous said...

Answer to Webster:
Baird (who publicly defends assisted suicide)

Just to name a few. These are to left of liberal. And many of these oppose the hiring of evangelicals. For example, Hanks will not grant an interview to a candidate, if the candidate ever belonged to an evangelical group such as Campus Crusades.

Anonymous said...

baylor alum,

for some wild reason, i figured that you wouldnt see the dr. klouda situation and the dr. jeyaraj situation in the same light. and, i'm talking about all your talk about the tenure process. now, if dr. jeyaraj had been a woman....weeeeellllll....


Anonymous said...

Sadler is a "marxist" or "classic liberal"

Oh, please. That's the most absurd comment made in this thread thus far.

It's unfortunate that Wade Burleson can't even defend his own post.

Makes you wonder, how did Wade come about this info? Who asked him to write this post? And if no person asked him to do so, why can't he defend himself? I've read this blog for sometime - Wade ALWAYS defends his words. His silence is deafening.

The accusation of liberal fundamentalism can not be defended and Wade knows this.

Good thing this post wasn't a paper at Baylor. If it was, any Baylor prof would give Burleson a F for failure to defend his thesis! said...

I do not understand why everyone is anonymous. Signing your name gives you credibility.

The information that I received for my post was from a person I trust who considers himself to be an evangelical conservative.

I have received an avalanche of emails, mostly anonymous, and one letter, anonymous, that I find very difficult to believe. What I am being asked to believe by anonymous people is that Dr. Jeyaraj is really a 'liberal,' was an outspoken critic of Sloan, that he has support of the university and his colleagues, that the English department and the University Tenure Committee voted to extend tenure to him, but Dr. Lilley made the unilateral decision to ignore the department adn University committees, reversed their recommendation, and discontinued Jeyaraj.

My point in the post is that conservative fundamentalists and liberal fundamentalists are similar: They are both intolerant.

I stand by the theme of the post, but have discovered that Baylor is not unlike the SBC -- it is spin city. I intend to stay out of the politics of Baylor and trust that in the end, policies and procedures for tenure will be followed for conservative evangelicals who are tenure track professors like they are everyone else.

volfan007 said...


i'm posting under anonymous because i got tired of registering with google every time i wanted to post something.


volfan007 said...

well, now it at other blogs who are under google, i have to register every time.

maybe i aint doing something right. that sounds like a country song, doesnt it?


Anonymous said...

I did not call Sadler a Marxist.
Now, something I can tell you for a fact is this:
He publicly praised Bob Baird, when Baird delivered his lecture promoting assisted suicide. In case you are wondering, Sadler is a RELIGION prof. at Baylor.

Nick Lacy

Webster7 said...

I stand by the theme of the post


I find it confusing that you say you just stand by the "theme" of the post. While you certainly touched on that broad theme in your post, the majority of your post was spent laying out specific charges, allegations, and things you "have to assume". Do you no longer stand by those specifics--just the theme?

I would hate to place this post in the Dan Rather "fake but accurate" category, but I have to admit that is what this sounds like. At the very least, the idea that Jeyaraj was dismissed for theological reasons and that there are "Marxists" and "classic liberals" at Baylor hasn't been confirmed (see my three unanswered questions).

Your most recent comment about all the conflicting information you've received seems to indicate that you're not sure what happened in the Jeyaraj case. If that is the case, will you retract the specific allegations and assumptions in your post--or at least label them more clearly as speculations not based on hard facts but on the word of one specific source? Things posted on the internet stay online for all to see, and there are real people in the Baylor English department who were the unnamed targets of the specific allegations, charges, and assumptions in your post. It's not right that those insinuations stay up there in that form if they have no basis in confirmed fact.

Overall, it's hard to argue against the broad theme that "conservative fundamentalists and liberal fundamentalists are similar." Certainly that's true. I haven't seen any demonstration, however, that the Baylor situation had anything to do with "liberal fundamentalists" at all. Nor have I see any demonstration as to why we should compare this case to the Klouda situation.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Herbie Webster!
Your attempt to deny that ther aren't any leftists in the English Dept. is a joke! Isn't it? :) said...


For Frank Beckwith to fight as hard as he did to obtain tenure at Baylor, with his credentials, world-wide respect, and scholarly contributions is evidence that something is not totally right at Baylor. I'm sorry I don't meet your standard of 'evidence' on Jeyaraj, but again, I stand by the theme of the post that liberal fundamentalists are as intolerant as conservative fundamentalists.

Webster7 said...

Thanks for the answer, Wade. I was just trying to see if you would stand by the specifics in your post, retract them, or amend them to say that they're speculative and not based in fact. As best I can tell, you're going with the "fake but accurate" defense. While that meets my personal criteria of bearing false witness, that's really up to each person and their church. In any event, I have the answer to my question.

Anonymous said...

No, you don't Herbie. But you will...

Anonymous said...

Wade, fyi, I'm staying anonymous because my current and future employment depends on it. Unfortunately, most pre-tenure academics don't have free reign to express their opinions in public, especially when it comes to the political aspects of academia.

I know Webster7 has already mentioned this, but I do wish that you would present more concrete evidence before jumping to some pretty serious conclusions. You did that so well in the Klouda case; I don't understand why, if the evidence exists (as anonymous insists), you're not doing it here.

Anonymous said...

Current academic,
I hope you don't teach at the Baylor Law School. Do you really think that somebody with an iota of brain would throw evidence on a blog?

Anonymous said...


"On February 3, 1943, the S.S. DORCHESTER, carrying 900 American servicemen headed for combat, was working its way through the icy churning waters off Greenland when it was struck by a U-boat torpedo. It was forced to leave the convoy and it didn't take long before a second torpedo scored a direct hit killing 100 men in the hull of the ship.

Throughout the ship there was confusion, terror and chaos as men scrambled about to get their life jackets and in many cases to get dressed. Trying to calm the men were four chaplains: Rabbi Alexander D. Goode; John P. Washington, a Roman Catholic priest; George L. Fox, a Methodist minister; and Clark P. Poling, a minister of the Reformed Church of America.

The extra life jackets were handed out but there were still many servicemen without them. Standing in front of the four chaplains were four men without life jackets. They were cold and afraid. The four chaplains took off their jackets and gave them to these men. The ship was quickly sliding into the sea. Many lifeboats were filled with men in the water and others were being launched. The four chaplains went about the deck helping the men get into lifeboats and comforting those that were terrified. Finally, all the lifeboats were on the waters filled with the remaining troops.

The last sight that these survivors saw of the DORCHESTER was the four chaplains clinging to each other on the slanting deck as it slowly went into the sea. Their arms were linked together with their heads bowed as they prayed to their God: "Shma Yisroel Adonai Elohenu Adonai Echod ... Our Father...which art in heaven ... Hallowed be Thy name ... Thy kingdom come ... Thy will be done."

Benjamin Epstein, a survivor of New York, recalls that fateful night. He personally knew each of the chaplains and he will never forget watching them go down with the ship. Of the 900 men aboard, only 229 were saved.

Rabbi Goode was the son of a rabbi in Washington, D.C. He won many medals for tennis, swimming and track while going through Eastern High School in Washington D.C. While he was studying to be a rabbi, he was an active participant in the National Guard. Goode married a high school classmate and they had one daughter. When he got his first synagogue, he traveled to Johns Hopkins University, 45 miles away, to earn a Doctorate in Oriental languages.

On February 13, 1951, President Harry S. Truman dedicated the Chapel of the Four Chaplains on the comer of Broad and Berks streets in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania. This inter-faith chapel is a memorial, for these four chaplains who gave their lives to save others. There are three altars: Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant. Above the entrance burns an eternal light which calls all men to the unity these four chaplains heroically demonstrated. The Chapel of the Four Chaplains has been relocated to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Rabbi Goode was one of 309 rabbis to be commissioned in World War II. He was one of many to give his life."

Anonymous said...

I wandered into this blog while looking up Dr. Jayaraj to see if he was still at Baylor. I am fairly recent Baylor grad and had Dr. Jayaraj for 2 classes. He was also my supposed academic advisor. I have to say that he seemed like a perfectly nice Christian person, but he was not, not, NOT a good professor or academic advisor. Sure, he may have been published in journals and that's great for him. But the impression I got was that he cared more about that than he did about teaching. I can't even begin to tell you the HOURS WASTED in his classes. He had no discernible lecture planned, no outline for the day. He was extremely soft spoken and timid. He was my academic advisor, but knew nothing about the classes I needed to take. It amounted to him signing my paper so I could register for the classes I knew I needed to take anyway--complete waste of time. Also, I find it particuarly interesting that the department did not inform him of what he needed to do to receive tenure, and then held it against him later because that is ALMOST EXACTLY what he did to me. I had to repeat a class with him (because he was the only professor who taught it) not because I didn't know the material or because I didn't have a good grade in the class, but because he failed to give me a deadline for a final paper due during finals week. I turned it in to him DURING FINALS WEEK, and, without telling me, he had already turned in his grades and thus I ended up with a D and had to repeat the class. (Received an A the next time, like I should have the first time!) He could have very easily notified the registrar that there was a grade change because he is the one that did not communicate to his very small class of students when the paper was due, and that would have solved everything for everyone. Now, I am definitely a person who can admit my faults. If I had any blame in all of it it was that I should have asked more questions and did the communicating FOR him. But I was a great student with a very good grade going in to that final paper, and he turned in his grades without telling the class and we were still turning in final papers, so that was his disorganization and inefficiency as a professor and then his unwillingness to admit error at play.
I believe that their removing him probably had nothing to do with his beliefs and everything to do with the fact that students routinely complained about him and I'm sure did not give him very good evaluations at the end of the semester. He was NOT a good professor. Simple as that.