In the two weeks since its original posting, the student-produced video titled “The Baylor We Know” has had 8,317 views, including the three times we’ve watched it in the Lariat newsroom — listening as impassioned students defend again and again the university we all love. The video includes comments expressing students’ positive views about the university and a final montage of students declaring they “stand with Baylor.”
Since its release, it has made its rounds across various social media platforms in a web of shares, likes and retweets, often accompanied by student comments affirming the video’s purpose: that Baylor is more than the sexual assault scandal that has kept it in the media for months on end.
This video’s sentiment is correct – Baylor is more than its mistakes. It’s not the video’s surface-level aim that gives us pause, but its subtext. We take issue with the idea that Baylor should be defended from the critics who condemn it for its atrocities, with the belief that Baylor, not the women who were denied justice, is the victim, with the perpetuation of the thought that because we love Baylor’s many appreciable qualities, we should overlook the corruption that is still slowly being exposed.
Baylor family: Respect, adoration and criticism are not mutually exclusive. And by asking that people focus on “the Baylor we know,” we’re asking people to stop thinking about the victims and the atrocities committed.
Just because we call Baylor home, just because we value this university and its professors does not mean that we cannot also hold Baylor accountable for its mistakes and the mistakes of its faculty and staff.
“The Baylor We Know” video states, “At Baylor, we persevere, we push on, looking ahead to the future, not being held back by our past.”
Students, we should be appalled by the facts of our past that are seemingly coming to light continuously. The mistakes of Baylor Title IX office, athletic department and others should not be something we strive to let go of — instead, it should be examined, evaluated and used to inform our future so that this will never happen again.
The media attention our university has received as a result of our “Big Mess” is not a punishment, it is a direct consequence of Baylor’s mistakes. Yes, the coverage has been broadly negative, but it hasn’t been disproportionate to the scandal. We have not been victimized by the media. The idea alluded to in the video — that the media needs to stop punishing Baylor for past misdeeds — is concerning because until the statistics about college rape decrease, we will not have reached a point where rape and the prioritization of athletes and athletics, has been talked about too much.
“The Baylor We Know” video meant well — we truly believe that. But in this time of transition, when we as a university are atoning for our mistakes and are making efforts to learn, to grow and to improve, we students need to be a continual force for change. Love Baylor, but don’t brush off its errors because you are tired of running this race: It’s not over yet.
Support the university, but don’t pretend that we are the victims and that Baylor has not erred. The video wanted to remind people that Baylor has good qualities. It does, and they are many, but now is the time to focus on progress. The university is making changes, it’s working to improve.
We don’t need to remind people of what we love about Baylor. Let the university correct its errors, and then its actions will speak for themselves