April Oddo | Broadcast Reporter
After the uproar of comments made from parents and students, controversial guest chapel speaker, Kaitlin Curtice, had a lot to say on social media regarding the negative responses she received after the speech she gave at Waco Hall.
Due to the reactions from the student body and parents after the service, Baylor Media and Public Relations responded to the concerns.
“Every Chapel speaker works with us ahead of time on what message they will be sharing, but, on occasion, a speaker may veer away from our understanding of the message they planned to convey,” the response said. “When this happens, we address the matter with our Chapel students and invite them to come to talk to us after Chapel.”
Curtice acknowledged the responses and gave her own opinion through Twitter, in which one of her posts happened to contradict the information that was told to parents.
“Baylor admin. sent out an immediate letter to parents basically saying ‘I veered off topic’ in my talk, and no one has publicly come to my defense to say otherwise. The Baylor Chapel leaders knew exactly what I was speaking on before I came,” Curtice tweeted.
Associate Chaplain Director of Worship & Chapel, Dr. Ryan Richardson, told Lariat TV News in November that chapel speakers are clearly informed to steer clear of politics prior to getting on stage.
“I tell our speakers now that I’d much prefer you to focus on foundational building blocks of faith,” Richardson said. “Specifically biblical literacy helping students understand what the bible says about various things, and steer clear of political reality — simply because our students are reading that and processing that every day.”
Although staff claims to communicate to all guests of the importance of refraining from political comments, chapel speakers still seem to be participating in potentially offensive and controversial topics when speaking in Waco Hall.
Houston freshman Carli Smith said, “To say we shouldn’t respond with gossip or backlash in a way just makes you feel like they are not listening to how you feel about what we’re forced to sit through and listen to.”
Houston freshman Aaron Beyk said he thinks Chapel is a great place for students to share their personal opinions.
“I think it is great we can come and express our opinions here in [the Bobo Spiritual Life Center], but I think there should also be a level of respect for these people, they do hold an authority at the university,” he said.
“I don’t think there should be an explicit apology, I think there should be compassion,” he added. “I do support the idea that you can come in here and share your opinion.”
Because of the ongoing conversations occurring on campus and social media after the speech, the University Chaplain and Dean of Spiritual Life, Dr. Burt Burleson, addressed the frustrations stemming from the Baylor community at the beginning of the following chapel.
“We’re saying to someone what someone said to us that hurt us and we add maybe all sorts of tone to it. Do you ever do that? It’s really hard, isn’t it, to simply speak the truth. We are called over and again to do that in Scripture,” Burleson said.