Baylor Names Ken Starr President

Announcement draws mixed reactions from the Baylor community.

By + More

For a long time, Kenneth Starr was a thorn in Bill Clinton's side. Starr came to the country's attention in the 1990s as the independent counsel investigating the Whitewater allegations and later as the author of the Starr Report, which famously alleged that Clinton lied under oath about his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Starr resurfaced on the national stage in 2008 as a leading defender of California's Prop 8, a controversial statewide referendum banning same-sex marriage. He has been dean of the law school at Pepperdine University since 2004.

But now, Starr, 63, has an entirely new role in academia. The native Texan will take over as president of Baylor University on June 1, the Lariat reports. Starr will be the 14th president of Baylor, a private, Baptist-affiliated school in Waco, Texas.

"I don't think I have seen a concentration of happy faces like this in the Baylor family in a long time," Dary Stone, chair of the Baylor Board of Regents, said Tuesday at the announcement ceremony. "So, it is the answer to prayer, the answer to a lot of hard work, and a blessing for the whole Baylor community."

But not everyone was smiling. Some 20 students protested outside the announcement ceremony. Some cited concerns about Starr's political affiliations and his work defending Prop 8. Others were upset that students had no say in the hiring process.

"As students, we have no say in these matters, but I can let people know I'm upset and concerned," Baylor senior Hunter Chambers, who started the Facebook group that organized the protest, tells the Lariat.

Either way, the hire certainly made a splash and gave Baylor some national publicity.

Searching for a college? Get our complete rankings of America's Best Colleges.