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Baptists over Wake Forest. Dorman was quick to point out that the
work of the Committee would pose no threat to academic freedom;
Baptists were simply concerned about the “quality of Christian influ-
ence” being set by the faculty, the relationship between a Wake For-
est education and the University’s “Christian mission,” and a decline
in enrollment of North Carolina Baptist students. Could it be, one
Convention leader asked, that Wake Forest needed to place as much
emphasis on spiritual values as it already did on academic excellence?
President Scales labeled the naming of the Committee of 15
“an exaggerated reaction” to incidents already sufficiently discussed,
and President Emeritus Tribble in a rare interview—he had been
disinclined since his retirement to comment on University matters
—questioned the “constitutionality” of recent Convention actions
and said that “a lot of harm” had been done to Wake Forest “inten-
tionally or unintentionally.” The Committee emphasized that its
task was “to listen, learn, relate, and interpret” and proposed that
its study would take three years.
The results of another “study”—this one authorized by the
Southern Baptist Convention and financed in part by the Lilly En-
dowment—appeared in the summer of 1977. It evaluated forty-six
Baptist-affiliated schools across the nation and ranked them in
eleven categories. Wake Forest was first in eight areas under consid-
eration: concern for innovation, democratic governance, concern
for advancing knowledge, human diversity, institutional esprit,
freedom, concern for the improvement for society, and intellectual
and aesthetic activities. The University ranked second in “concern
for undergraduate learning” (unlike most other schools in the sur-
vey Wake Forest had professional programs in medicine, law, and
management), third in “self-study and planning,” and fifth in “meet-
ing local needs.” Over-all, the results were highly favorable and, of
course, were made use of as the University went ahead with its talks
with North Carolina Baptists.
The three-year review of WILPA (the Wake Forest Institute for
Labor Policy Analysis), provided for at the time the Trustees approved
the Institute, came to an end, and in December the Trustees voted
unanimously to dissolve WILPA, arguing that its “presence as a
separate fund-soliciting agency… might adversely affect future fund-
raising efforts for the [law] school” and that its operation was “incon-
sonant with the school’s central mission.” President Scales, never in
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