| the history of wake forest
favor of the Institute, pointed out that its director, Sylvester Petro, a
tenured professor, would continue to teach. Supporters of the Insti-
tute charged that Scales, a political liberal, was guilty of ideological
bias and simply disapproved of what he perceived as Petro’s anti-
labor perspective. Petro himself called the Trustee decision “the act
of mean, frivolous and irresponsible persons.” “I do not believe,” he
said, “any excuse can be found for such conduct.”
The stage was set for what proved to be an irreconcilable con-
flict between President Scales and Law Dean “Bud” Bowman, who
supported Professor Petro and WILPA. In January Scales, in an
interview reported to have lasted three hours, asked Bowman to
resign as dean, though continuing as a faculty member, and Bow-
man refused, saying to the Student Bar Association that he was
“not going down without a fight.” 367 of the 450 students in the
law school thereupon submitted a petition declaring their “unqual-
ified support” for Bowman, and Robert Morey, a
law alumnus from Greenville, announced the
formation of a group called Concerned Alumni
for Academic Freedom which almost at once at-
tracted fifty members to its cause. A Trustee
committee under the chairmanship of Lonnie
Williams was appointed to study the troubled
relationship between the law school and the cen-
tral administration, and just before the end of
the spring term they were able to reach an agree-
ment which provided for Bowman to take a
year’s leave to be a visiting professor at the Uni-
versity of Virginia. Petro decided to submit his
resignation from the law faculty, to become effec-
tive July 1, the same day on which WILPA would
cease to exist. Professor of Law Leon H. Corbett Jr., an alumnus of
both the College and the School of Law, and Assistant Dean since
1970, was appointed Acting Dean for the 1978-1979 academic year.
Because of the intense and sometime angry public discussion
of the role played by President Scales during the debate over WIL-
PA and because his integrity had been called into question, other
key members of the administration found it advisable to issue a
statement in his support: “It is our belief that President Scales does
not evaluate people or programs on the basis of ideology. Rather,
Leon Corbett
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