Opinion: Student Senate seeks unity, not revenge, with Bear Pit bill

A unified, powerful, and enthusiastic student section to cheer on an elite basketball team. This is what Senator Grant Senter and I wish to see. There is no wish to demolish the loyal organization of the Bear Pit. There is no personal vendetta against Bear Pit members. There is only a wish to see a successful, representative student section at Baylor basketball games.

The inability of the Bear Pit to fill its premiere seating section and provide an energetic and intimidating atmosphere that accurately portrays the greatness of the Baylor student body is precisely why Grant Senter and I wrote a bill in Student Senate aiming to restructure the Bear Pit.

The bill we authored and passed through senate with a commanding 23-5 majority recommends allowing Baylor students to sit in Bear Pit seating without having to endure the hassle of paying fees or wearing the distinguishing jerseys that misrepresent Baylor colors. Instead, students wearing a Baylor shirt would be able to claim their courtside seats on a first-come, first-serve basis, partaking in cheers led by Bruiser and the rest of the Baylor Spirit Squad.

Instead of disbanding or destroying the Bear Pit, Senter and I seek to unify the Bear Pit with the rest of the student body. Those who are currently Bear Pit members and those who are not would all be able to come together in unison to support their team.

Rather than those like Lariat sports editor Tyler Alley who would disparage the student body by doubting their ability to fill this new Bear Pit section, Senter and I are confident the seating would be packed based on the fact that Baylor student attendance at football and basketball games ranked towards the top of the Big 12 this year.

After discussing the whole Bear Pit issue with countless Baylor students and faculty who are all concerned with creating a better atmosphere in the Ferrell Center, it is apparent we can all agree on two points. First, the Bear Pit contains some of the best fans of Baylor basketball out there. From their support during the dark days of the Bliss and Dennehy scandals to the small but loyal current members who show up every night to cheer on the bears, their passion for Baylor sports is commendable.

However, we can also all agree on a second point that the Bear Pit has failed to consistently fill up their premiere section with a vocal fan base. Even despite the amazing success of our team as of late, the Bear Pit has consistently throughout past years presented a lackluster turnout of students that presents a negative and misrepresentative picture to national television audiences.

Therefore, the Bear Pit has failed in its fundamental purpose to “increase and promote school spirit at Baylor men’s basketball games; thereby creating an atmosphere of excitement for both players and fans to enjoy.”

Restructuring of the Bear Pit is clearly needed. After spending countless hours on this topic, Senter and I are confident masses of students will pour into the new restructured Bear Pit seating we proposed, creating the great unified Bear Pit we all wish to see.

— Kirby Garrett
Bend, Ore., sophomore
Sophomore class senator
Co-author of SR 59-33
Bear Pit Restructuring