Regents announce completion of 105 recommendations

Dr. Linda A. Livingstone, Baylor president-select, meets with the press following her first Board of Regents meeting. Her term will begin on June1, 2017. Photo credit: Liesje Powers

By Liesje Powers | Photo Editor

The Board of Regents held their spring meeting at noon Friday at the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative, where they announced the structural completion of the 105 recommendations made following the Pepper Hamilton investigation. According to the Board, the university will continue to make efforts against sexual violence throughout campus.

“There’s been a lot of work done by a lot of people to make that a reality and I appreciate the professionalism and the care that all of our Baylor team has done to make sure those recommendations are not just done as recommendations, but are done because we are doing the right thing and want to make sure we are taking care of all of our students,” said Ronald Murff, board chair.

According to the university, a written report will be released during the summer with an audit of the internal and external efforts to complete the recommendations.

“One of the things I want to make clear is that we are not just simply interested in compliance,” said Dr. David Garland, interim president. “We want to exceed compliance to benefit our students [and] to make their educational experience at Baylor University strong.”

President-select Dr. Linda Livingstone was privy to her first board meeting, and spoke of the continued changes.

“We are really pleased with the work that has been done with the 105 recommendations,” Livingstone said. “And that certainly will continue to complete that progress as we build those into the culture of institution and into doing those things because they are the right thing to do, not because we are sort of checking off the boxes with regard to those.”

Livingstone also said that Baylor has met many of its numeric goals regarding incoming freshmen and the retention of students for the upcoming fall.

“I think there’s some sort of quantitative metrics that show that we’ve made good progress with many of our constituent groups to maintain the perspective on who we are and the value of what they get at Baylor,” Livingstone said.

Livingstone will begin her term on June 1, exactly a year after former President Ken Starr stepped down from office. She encourages students to be engaged in their academics and campus.

“I look forward to working with our students in a variety of ways and hearing from them and continuing to do the things that we need to on the campus to enhance their student experience,” Livingstone said.

She will serve as the university’s first female president, following her position as dean and professor of management for the George Washington University School of Business.

The year-end update of the Board was presented and approved, which includes a newly voted committee structure, officers and chairs. Joel Allison, previous Vice Chair, was named as the next Regent Chair with Daniel Chapman to serve as the next Vice Chair. Among those voted into the board are two new student regents, Houston junior Hannah Vecseri and Keller sophomore Will Cassara.

“It will be exciting, if things move forward, then Will would be the first voting student regent and that’s important,” Murff said. “It’s another way we can stay in touch with our student body.”

It was announced during Garland’s last regent meeting that a scholarship fund of $5 million, named after the interim president, would be created in appreciation of his work as interim president and provost. The endowment will be reserved for students at the George W. Truett Theological Seminary.

“This is what Baylor is all about: our students,” Garland said, “and the generosity of the Regents is just amazing.”

The Board approved the Academic and Student Affairs’ proposal to create a joint Bachelor’s and Master’s program for those who study Corporate Communications. This will allow for students to successfully complete both degrees within five years.

A budget of $621.7 million for the 2017-2018 year was also reviewed and approved by the Board, allotting $16.8 million for both merit and need-based scholarships.

Other information discussed in the meeting included the Faculty and Student Regent updates and committee reports from the Audit and Compliance committee, Compensation Committee and the Outreach committee.