By Ada Zhang
The Baylor Alumni Association board of directors is meeting Saturday to discuss future plans for the BAA now that Baylor has terminated its license to use the Baylor brand.
Collin Cox, BAA president, said an official statement regarding future plans of the organization will not be released until after the board meeting.
The fate of the BAA and its official magazine, “The Baylor Line,” is uncertain until then.
Had the Transition Agreement passed on Sept. 7, the BAA would have merged with the university and a new licensing agreement would have been written to allow “The Line” continued use of the Baylor brand.
Since the vote failed to achieve the two-thirds majority needed to pass the agreement, the university officially terminated the license on Sunday, according to a universitywide email from President Ken Starr.
This termination also applies to “The Line.” The university notified the BAA of the possible termination of the license on May 31.
Bette McCall Miller, a lifetime member of the BAA and the daughter of former Baylor President Abner McCall, said she feels the university is violating the 1993 licensing agreement.
The 1993 licensing agreement between the BAA and the university gave the BAA permission to use the Baylor name.
The agreement allowed the university to control quality, meaning the university has the right to review the magazine before publication to ensure adherence to trademark policies.
The agreement did not, however, give the university editorial control over the BAA.
The agreement said the BAA’s independent voice was understood and positions taken by the BAA, even those contrary to Baylor administration or its Board of Regents, were not to be taken by the university as grounds for termination.
BAA member Jeremy Story said whether the university violated the licensing agreement or not is a matter for lawyers to deal with.
“I think it violates the spirit of the agreement, but in the grand scheme of things, that’s not going to matter,” Story said. “It’s going to come down to a legal argument.”
Story said ideally, he would want the BAA to remain independent. But as a practical matter, Story said he believes the BAA should merge with the university.
“I worry at this point they’re fighting a losing battle and the only exit strategy for them is to drag it out as long as possible,” Story said.
Even though the agreement did not pass, the university is going forward with many changes outlined in the agreement, Starr said.
The Baylor Alumni Network is in charge of the Heritage Club, Lifelong Learning and marketing of Baylor’s Official Ring program, Starr said. These programs and services were previously managed by the BAA.
Miller said she is not happy with Starr’s statement about the network being in charge of programs started by the BAA.
“Ken Starr is saying he can take over our programs, but the reality is, those programs were initiated by the BAA,” Miller said. “There was no Heritage Club before the BAA, there was no Ring program until BAA started providing it. If the Baylor Alumni Network wants to take over, they’ll have to sue us to stop us and we will defend ourselves.”
Danny Stockton, a 2012 Baylor graduate who is not a member of the BAA, does not think the university is acting outrageously for taking over these programs.
“Even if the BAA started the program it doesn’t mean we can’t keep doing them,” Stockton said. “Things they started that use the Baylor name, they were able to start because they have a licensing agreement. The Ring program is a thing a lot of universities have and has nothing to to with BAA.”