By Brandon Maxwell
Everyone has seen the billboards that say “#BaylorForward – Vote ‘Yes’ on September 7th” and received numerous emails from Baylor about a big vote.
President Ken Starr sent out an email, containing a video of himself, to all the students telling them how important traditions are to the country and the university. In that video, Starr erroneously compares the transition agreement between Baylor and the Baylor Alumni Association with the writing of the United States Constitution.
“We have to listen to everybody with respect, and compromise, compromise is not a bad word, it is a good word because it shows respect for the other person,” Starr said.
The question being brought up by many is, “what compromise?” Baylor has given no answer, only feel-good responses implying that if you are against this agreement, you are against Baylor University.
Who hates Baylor? Instead of fighting the BAA, why doesn’t Baylor try to work with the 154-year-old institution for the sake of unity?
A lot of students nowadays graduate with a debt of $50,000 to $100,000; a degree that costs $200,000 is only affordable to the upper class and those fortunate enough to attain large scholarships. Recently, the Baylor Board of Regents approved a 5.8 percent increase in tuition — a consistent financial theme with Baylor over the last several years.
The board of regents is unaccountable to the Baylor family. So if not for the BAA, who or what group of people will be asking the tough questions to the board of regents about the high cost of a Baylor education and finding ways to reduce it?
The BAA stood with the faculty in the 2000s when academic freedom was assaulted by the administration and the board of regents.
What Baylor wants is control. Not just control over the university, but of any independent voice on or off campus.
BAA life member Stan Schlueter argued that what former Baylor presidents Abner McCall and Herb Reynolds knew is still true: a self-perpetuating, self-sustaining (good ol’ boy) board that operates in total silence cannot be trusted to do what is in the best interest of graduates and students.
Baylor’s use of bully tactics to silence the only independent voice of the university is a clear sign that the leadership of Baylor does not want anyone with clout questioning its authority.
Baylor is not arguing on the merits of the BAA.
You cannot express 154 years of Baylor pride in 400 words, on a billboard or in a Facebook profile picture.
Brandon Maxwell is a senior political science major from Austin.