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Please Note: A video with interviews from the BAA vote is located at the end of the article.
By Ada Zhang
The Transition Agreement did not pass based on a vote by members of the Baylor Alumni Association.
A total of 1,499 votes were cast. There were 830 ‘yes’ votes and 668 ‘no’ votes. One vote was counted illegal for being in favor of both yes and no.
Two thirds of the votes, in this case 1,000 votes, needed to be ‘yes’ in order for the agreement to pass.
The BAA will continue as an independent entity for now pending the possible termination of the license to use the Baylor name.
Even though ‘yes’ votes did not reach the two thirds mark, Collin Cox, BAA president, said he is thrilled that more than half of the members present voted ‘yes.’
“We have a ton of opinions in BAA,” Cox said. “We are a deep, caring group and I’m not surprised we have disagreement. When more than half say we need something new, that’s good.”
Judge Ken Starr said in an email to the Lariat that he is thankful for those that supported the Transition Agreement.
“We thank all those who rallied to express their enthusiastic support for a new day at Baylor as we continue to seek to move our beloved University forward,” Starr said.
Bette McCall Miller, a lifetime member of the BAA and the daughter of former Baylor President Abner McCall, said today’s votes are not representative of the majority of the BAA. She said most of the alumni who voted are Waco residents who have been more influenced by propaganda to vote ‘yes.’
“This vote cannot reflect what the whole organization thinks,” she said. “Its not a fair sampling.”
Voting began at 11:30 a.m. and ended at 1:30 p.m. in the lobby of Waco Hall.
An outside auditor, Jaynes, Reitmeier, Boyd & Therrell, P.C., tallied the votes.
Prior to the vote, a debate took place from 11 to 11:30 a.m. in Waco Hall to give alumni on both sides the chance to share their opinions on why the BAA should or should not merge with the university.
Cox served as the mediator.
The left side of the auditorium was labeled “Pro” and the right side was labeled “Con.” A microphone was provided on both sides for alumni to speak. Lines formed behind both microphones as alumni stepped up to voice their opinions.
Passionate arguments came from both sides.
On the pro side, many arguments were made on the basis of unity.
Brent Edwards, a ’77 Baylor graduate, spoke first in favor of the transition. He said he wants Baylor to be the best Christian university in the world and that BAA members need to act like Christians by working together with the university.
Chicago alumnus Kurt Dorr, who filed the lawsuit against Baylor and the leadership of the BAA for planning to demolish the Hughes-Dillard Alumni Center, countered Edwards’ argument.
“I don’t like the implication that if you don’t vote ‘yes’ you are not a Christian,” Dorr said. “I find that a distasteful argument.”
Dorr also said he is disappointed in the BAA’s leadership, calling it “lacking.”
San Antonio sophomore Emily Knaub made an argument for the pro side on behalf of the students.
“Baylor is known for camaraderie,” she said. “As a student its disappointing that camaraderie is not found in the BAA. Remember students when you vote.”
After Knaub’s statement, an alumna from the audience stood up and reminded the mediator that the debate was for alumni, not students.
Miller countered Knaub’s statement. Miller said she felt encouraged by young people who oppose the transition.
“There are young people who want this organization to exist,” she said.
Miller also said if the transition were to pass, the BAA would continue to exist.
“If Baylor sues us, we will fight,” she said.