As of Friday, Feb. 17, Baylor student regents now have a voting say in university matters, along with other previously nonvoting members. In an unprecedented move, the Board of Regents agreed to adopt many of the recommendations put forth by the governance task force, and, most notably, approved the right for student regents to vote in their second term.
Through combined efforts from the Lariat, student government, groups like Bears for Leadership Reform and individuals concerned about university governance, we effectively shared our message, and that message was heard. This is how the student body should be able to interact with their respective school. This is right – this is what democracy looks like.
Now the future of student involvement in universitywide decisions has changed for the better, thanks to everyone’s efforts. It shouldn’t go without saying that we are appreciative of the Board of Regents’ willingness to listen to our collective voice.
Students, clearly our voices matter. As the majority of the Baylor population, we have significant investments into the university and, therefore, a particular interest in our school’s performance. It comes from a passionate place – those who spoke out didn’t get involved out of disdain or spite. Rather, they were students, faculty, alumni: people with close ties to Baylor and who want to see it succeed.
Some days, however, it may not feel like your voice is making a difference. Many have gone before us in efforts to change their university, both at Baylor and at universities across the country, and some did not succeed in that moment. So it went at Princeton, when students protested to have the name of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs changed. That a school would be named after Wilson, a known racist and perpetuator of civil injustice, greatly offended some of the students. Though the administration of Princeton decided to leave the former president’s name on the school, the message those impassioned students fought so hard to get across did not get drowned out.
Nor does it mean you should take it as a sign to quit fighting.
There will always be bumps, roadblocks and even losses, but since when has that stopped great leaders and thinkers of the past? The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t stand down in the face of greater adversity than many of us will ever experience. This being said, we urge you to continue to get involved and to remain active in your communities.
Those who are disillusioned with any form of politics, whether it be of a university or of the nation, your silence is not the way to fix those problems. Disassociating oneself or becoming inactive will only further you frustrations. It will be a source of discontent, and because you didn’t speak up, you will only remain unheard.
With this being said, continue to call your legislators. Continue to write letters to the editor expressing your concerns, and leverage the your communal influence in order to to move forward important issues. Don’t stop fighting what you are passionate about, because we can now affirm that it makes a difference. An engaged, impassioned and involved community makes for a better place for everyone – it leaves no stone unturned and no voice unheard.
Take note that truth will prevail. If your message is born out of truth, know you are fighting the good fight.