Baylor Line Foundation calls for delayed board vote

Peter Osbourne is the chief marketing and communications officer for the Baylor Line Foundation. Photo credit: Courtesy Photo

By Kalyn Story | Staff Writer

The Baylor Line Foundation released a statement Thursday calling on the Board of Regents to delay their vote on whether to accept the recommendations provided by their governance review task force. The vote is scheduled to take place today.

The Baylor Line Foundation, formerly the Baylor Alumni Association, held a town hall meeting Wednesday night to discuss the governance reform proposal and thinks there needs to be continued discussion before an informed vote can be held on the matter.

“Clearly, the life of Baylor, as we know her, may depend on this decision,” the Baylor Line Foundation’s statement read. “Surely those responsible for her future will want additional input before voting on something of this magnitude.”

Baylor spokesman Jason Cook told the Lariat that Chairman Ron Murff was unavailable for comment because of Board committee meetings and related activities.

In response to the Baylor Line Foundation’s invitation to the regents to participate in the town hall meeting, Murff said in a letter that, although they are unable to participate in the town hall, they are open to feedback from the Baylor Line Foundation regarding the task force’s report.

Although they did not actively participate, five regents attended the town hall event: Jennifer Elrod, Mark Rountree, Julie Turner, Wayne Fisher, and Dan Chapman.

The Baylor Line Foundation said it was disappointed that they did not participate and that more regents did not attend.

“We had a lively discussion regarding the various reform options with concerned members of the Baylor family,” the Baylor Line Foundation’s statement read. “Obviously, the discussion would have been more productive and thorough had the regents’ views been represented.”

Peter Osborne, the Baylor Line Foundation’s chief marketing and communications officer, said he thinks it would be difficult for the regents to make an informed decision on the governance review proposals without hearing from their constituents.

“There has not been enough conversation surrounding this decision,” Osborne said. “The regents are trying to rush this through and vote on it in executive session. We would love to hear why the regents believe their proposal goes far enough because there hasn’t been any dialogue with the regents about this proposal.”

Osborne said he thinks communication between constituents and regents would be more effective in a face-to-face setting or even over the phone.

“The regents have talked through press releases and statements but not through conversations with people who love this university,” Osborne said. “We need to have open forums where the regents listen to those invested in Baylor and can hear what they think.”

Allen Holt, the Baylor Line Foundation’s executive vice president and CEO, said there is no reason to rush this decision and that all parties would benefit from continued discussion.

“We are hoping for a statement from the regents saying they are listening and paying attention to their constituents and they will table the vote,” Holt said.

Holt said this vote affects everyone attached to Baylor, and it should not be taken lightly. Holt said, based on feedback and participation from alumni, he knows that members of the Baylor family want their voices heard on the matter of governance of the university.

“We must find some way to work together and find a decision that members from all areas of the Baylor family are satisfied with,” Holt said. “The Baylor family is interested in this decision because it affects all of us because we care deeply about Baylor. “