Baylor College of Medicine to Remain Independent

After long and controversial discussions about merging with a university, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, has decided to remain an independent institution. William Butler, BCM interim president, told faculty by e-mail yesterday that despite "financial difficulties" that led the school to consider joining with Rice University or Baylor University, BCM's board of trustees unanimously voted on Wednesday to "continue as an independent, autonomous institution." Many faculty members at nearby Rice fiercely opposed a merger and months of discussions ended 2 weeks ago. BCM officials then began exploring an alliance with Baylor University in Waco, but BCM faculty members, students, and alumni protested that the Baptist university's religious mission was in conflict with that of the medical school.

The school will now develop "a long-range comprehensive strategy" that will be overseen by a manager to be appointed at the request of creditors, Butler's message says. BCM will also begin searching for a new president.