New task force created to address Board of Regents operations

Photo credit: Liesje Powers

Baylor interim President David Garland sent an email to Baylor faculty and staff Wednesday announcing the formation of a task force to review the Board of Regents’ current operation methods.

“Today the Board announced a new Governance Review Task Force that will review and recommend improvements in the Board’s practices, procedures and selection process,” Garland said. “This Task Force will work alongside the Board’s Governance and Compensation committee that has already led the implementation of substantial changes.”

He also announced the creation of an Executive Committee and the intention of drawing distinct lines of reporting between the Board of Regents and university leadership.

“Of particular note is the Board’s decision to disband its Athletics Committee, a structural change that signals its intention that all areas of the university fully align with the university’s mission,” Garland said.

This announcement comes the day before a nonprofit organization called Bears for Leadership Reform hold their first meeting.

Julie Hillrichs, spokeswoman for Bears for Leadership Reform, said the group is coming together to press for positive reform of the Baylor Board of Regents.

“The Board of Regents must be transformed through transparency,” Hillrichs said. “Change won’t happen unless the Baylor family comes together and demands it.”

Hillrichs said Bears for Leadership Reform is asking for a seat at the table during the selection of Baylor’s next president. She also said they are demanding the implementation of Title IX and additional sexual assault prevention programs.

“These people are heartbroken and deeply troubled by the university’s response to sexual assault,” Hillrichs said.

Hillrichs is the Vice President of Vianovo, a strategic advisory firm for high-stakes brand, policy and crisis issues.

Linda Carol Trotter, a 1981 Baylor graduate, is flying in from Tennessee to attend the Bears for Leadership Reform kickoff event. Trotter has a daughter at Baylor and said she is very passionate about changing Baylor for the better.

“I love Baylor with everything that I am,” Trotter said, “but I am very unhappy with what has been going on at Baylor recently, and I am very unhappy with the Board of Regents and the way they have handled the recent sexual assault scandal and allegations.”

Trotter said she is excited about the Bears for Leadership Reform group because they seem to be invested in Baylor and will put Baylor’s interests above their own.

“I want to see the Board of Regents overhauled and held accountable,” Trotter said. “Currently, the Board of Regents is filled with self-perpetuating monsters who will continue, in their own self interest, to keep re-electing themselves and each other. It is time for Baylor and the Baylor family to be put first.”

Trotter said she was particularly disappointed that members of the Board of Regents spoke to the media before ever addressing the Baylor family directly to explain what has been going on.

“I was shocked when I read that regents were speaking to the Wall Street Journal when they have never even spoken to us,” Trotter said. “Baylor is so much more than this scandal, and the regents are allowing Baylor’s reputation to be dragged through the mud. I will defend my beloved university even when it’s leaders won’t.”

Bears for Leadership Reform was recently created with the goal of restructuring the Baylor Board of Regents, according to the group’s Facebook page. The page was created Friday and has accrued more than 6,000 likes.

Thursday’s event, titled on their Facebook page as “Kickoff Event,” has more than 100 RSVPs and more than 300 people “interested” in attending the event.

The kickoff event will also be livestreamed on their Facebook page.