By Linda Wilkins
The face of Baylor alumni relations is changing.
“They talked through all the things the university does and the association does and that resulted in the transition agreement you see,” Collin Cox, BAA president, said. “We got here because a lot of leaders on both sides spent a lot of time thinking about what is best for Baylor University.”
The Transition Agreement is a proposal set forth by the two organizations that would dissolve the alumni association, which is independent of the university. The agreement was signed by the Baylor Board of Regents Chair Richard Willis on May 28 and Cox on May 31. Because the agreement would dissolve the BAA, the BAA members have to vote on whether or not to approve the agreement. This vote will take place at a meeting at 11 a.m. Saturday in Waco Hall. Only BAA members can vote and the members must be present at the meeting. There is a list of eligible BAA members on the BAA website.
Two-thirds of the votes must be in approval of the agreement for the transition to go into effect.
The board of the BAA voted Tuesday and approved the transition agreement 28-7. The vote took place over a conference call, during which 17 members of the BAA board were absent. The board has 52 members total.
Should the agreement be approved, the BAA’s assets would be transferred to Baylor.
In addition, the Baylor Alumni Advisory Board would be created and would work through a Baylor-designated vice president. The current board of directors in the BAA would be invited to join the advisory board. All other members on the Advisory Board would be elected by alumni. According to the agreement, the advisory board “will not have an external voice as the BAAB.”
Cox said there have been boards to reflect segments of Baylor alumni such as a men’s board or a women’s board, but not one to reflect all alumni.
Current BAA employees eligible for hire by Baylor would also have the opportunity to become Baylor employees, according to the agreement.
The Baylor Board of Regents would also allow an alumni regent to be added to the board. This regent would be a non-voting member and would be subject to the board’s rules in regards to confidentiality in meetings.
The advisory board would be allowed to submit, with the overseeing vice president, the names of four candidates who are alumni to the board of regents for consideration.
The Baylor Line, a magazine published by the BAA, would come under the control of a new organization called the Baylor Line Corp. The purpose of the nonprofit Texas corporation would be to produce The Baylor Line in print and online.
The Baylor Line Corporation’s board of directors would be required to permit a Baylor vice president to speak on all matters involving the Baylor Line Corporation.
A new license to use the Baylor name would be issued to the Baylor Line Corporation should the agreement pass.
The license “will be to provide an independent platform from which to provide the exchange of ideas to help advance Baylor University and ensure the continuation of its distinctive role in higher education,” according to the agreement.
The original license was terminated May 31 in a letter sent to the BAA from the board of regents. The termination is suspended until Sept. 8 and will become effective should the agreement not pass. If the agreement does pass, Baylor will withdraw the termination and the old license agreement will become void.
Dr. Todd Still, the Faculty Senate chair and faculty regent, said it’s possible litigation could ensue if the agreement does not pass.
“I think after that it would likely be the case that the association would be prohibited from using the Baylor brand,” Still said. “If they can’t use the Baylor brand, it would be hard for them to do that which they do. This would lead to some kind of legal battle.”
Cox also said litigation between the BAA and Baylor is likely to occur after a no vote.
“Baylor will say, ‘You cannot use the Baylor name with the Baylor Line or Baylor Alumni Association,’” Cox said.
The complete documentation of the Transition Agreement is available online at www.bayloralumniassociation.com.