BAA files countersuit to become sole alumni organization

By Reubin Turner
Assistant City Editor

After publishing their controversial spring issue of The Baylor Line titled “The Real Story,” the Baylor Alumni Association has filed a countersuit against Baylor University alleging the university failed to uphold an official contract between the two entities.

According to the lawsuit, the BAA is urging the university to acknowledge the association as the official alumni organization of the university, as well as to cease operating the Baylor Alumni Network, which the BAA claims was created to replace their organization, according to the countersuit.

These legal measures by the BAA are in reaction the university filing a lawsuit against the association, which cited a breach in contract by the BAA for trademark infringement.

According to a press release by the BAA, the BAA has tried for years to work with the university in a way that would allow them to support the university, while preserving the name of its name.

Julie Hillrichs, media representative for the BAA, said after Baylor filed the lawsuit against the BAA, Baylor began reaching out to the BAA in an attempt to settle the issue before going to court.

“When the talks began, we started to make significant progress on both sides,” Hillrichs said.

She said, however, for any action to be taken by the BAA a vote was needed, which would have required more time before the deadline passed to file a countersuit on August 6.

Hillrichs said Baylor refused to extend this deadline and as a result, were forced to file the countersuit.

Lori Fogleman, the assistant vice president for media communications, said that the university was deeply disappointed with the BAA’s choice to file, especially after they were actively engaged with the BAA over two years in an attempt to resolve the issue.

“Regrettably, our attempts at resolution have been unsuccessful,” Fogleman said.

Fogleman also said the BAA seems to have been unsuccessful in the past in mapping out a plan of action that is beneficial to both the university as whole, and its students.

BAA President Keith Starr, who is of no relation to Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr, said he shared in Fogleman’s disappointment that a resolution could not be met before further litigation occurred.

“The Baylor Alumni Association and Baylor University spent the better part of the past month trying to resolve our legal dispute,” Starr said. “Unfortunately, it does not appear that our efforts are going to be successful at this time.”

According to the Baylor lawsuit against the BAA, the BAA has yet to donate any money of the $1 million gift approved in Feb. 2013 to support President Ken Starr’s scholarship initiative. These actions gave the university cause to believe the BAA was no longer able to best meet the needs of the university.

“We will continue to seek relief in the courts, if the BAA continues to ignore the best interest of the university,” Fogleman said.