Editorial: BU did students justice with O’Connor talk

Esteban Diaz | Editorial Cartoonist
Esteban Diaz | Editorial Cartoonist

Baylor will have the honor of welcoming Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to campus as a guest for President Ken Starr’s OnTopic lecture series next week.

O’Connor, the first woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, will speak about her time on the Court, issues America is dealing with today and iCivics, a program she founded to bolster civic education. An iCivics model was created at Baylor Law within the last year, and has helped spread the use of iCivics to local classrooms.

O’Connor’s lecture will begin at 1 p.m. Monday in Waco Hall, and Baylor students, employees and even alumni are already anticipating what promises to be an inspiring event.

As of Thursday, all the tickets for the event had been given out, according to the Bill Daniel Student Center Ticket Office. Plans for a limited amount of overflow seating are also being made, according to the event’s website. Tickets for this seating can be picked up at 10 a.m. Monday at the Waco Hall Box Office.

It’s a relief that the university has ticketed the event, which should help to avoid the chaos that ensued over first-come-first-served-style seating when former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was the OnTopic guest last semester.

At that event, many hopeful attendees were turned away, including some who arrived early but sat in a reserved area that was not clearly marked. By the time they realized the mistake, many were unable to find alternate seating.

But it looks as though there has been much better planning for seating at Monday’s event. That’s fortunate, because when students rise up to support a university event, they shouldn’t have to worry about being turned away unfairly.

Starr’s OnTopic lecture series has gotten students excited about listening to lectures and has exposed them to speakers who are not only prominent, but influential and inspirational. T. Boone Pickens, founder and chairman of BP Capital Management, was the first guest for Spring 2011, followed by Rice in the fall. Both lectures had large turnouts (Rice’s overwhelmingly so) and we hope to see similar student support for O’Connor and other lecturers in the future.

Having these men and women on campus provides opportunities for students to learn, ask questions and possibly even build connections. Students should take advantage of that and express our gratitude for the time these speakers spend with us by continuing to rise up and support Starr’s effort. The presence of such prominent men and women on campus is good not only for students on the individual level, but for the university as a whole, as we work to build greater strength and respect for the Baylor name across the nation.

We look forward to hearing Justice O’Connor speak, and to seeing what surprises the OnTopic lecture series holds for the future.