Baylor Family: Regents’ Governance Changes Fail to Address Transparency or Accountability
Bears for Leadership Reform
January 14, 2017
WACO, Texas – The Baylor University Board of Regents Governance Review Task Force has finally made public a list of proposed changes to the governance structure of the 170-year-old Baptist campus. The document is 27 pages. If the measuring stick is word count, it’s an impressive work. But if one measures it on a scale of needed change, the plan comes up miles short, representatives of Bears for Leadership Reform said today.
“There are some good suggestions in the University’s proposed governance document,” said BLR President John Eddie Williams ahead of the Baylor Line Foundation’s town hall meeting on governance reform Wednesday in Waco. “But they’re baby steps, not real reform. And transparency and accountability are missing,”
Under the plan, the Board of Regents would still appoint itself; operate under a cloak of secrecy and gag rules; and fail to share the facts and details of the sexual assault crisis investigation. Specifically, the B Association, Bear Foundation and faculty Regents would join Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) Regents as voting Regents, but ultimately their election is totally up to the sitting Regent Board, not the constituent organizations.
Moreover, the Board of Regents would still conduct its business in total secrecy. Meetings would continue to occur in secret. Regents would continue to be subject to gag orders preventing them from discussing Regent business, and would not be available for media or alumni Q&A.
“It’s a status quo plan,” said former Regent Randy Ferguson, who co-chairs the BLR’s Research and Policy Committee. “That’s not what they Baylor Family wants or deserves from its leadership in response to this crisis. Hopefully, some Regents will recognize this and demand more.”
On Jan. 18, BLR proposed a historic and far-reaching roadmap for governance changes to alter how the Board of Regents is elected and increase transparency with the Baylor Family. Specifically, BLR’s governance reform package calls for allowing Baylor constituencies to elect a majority of Regents. Under the BLR’s 10-10-4 concept, the Board of Regents would consist of the following:
- 10 Regents elected by the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Regents also would
relinquish their right to not seat a Regent elected by the BGCT.
- 10 Regents elected by Baylor alumni in a process similar to the current Alumni-Elected
- 10 Regents elected by the full membership of the Baylor Board of Regents.
- One Regent elected by the “B” Association Board of Directors.
- One Regent elected by the Baylor Bear Foundation Board of Directors.
- One Regent elected by the Student Congress.
- One regent elected by the Faculty Senate.
- All Regents (except the student Regent) would serve three-year terms and be eligible to
serve no more than 3 total terms.
- No Regent could serve more than two years as chairman of the Board of Regents.
- The current Executive Committee would be disbanded, and no committee would be empowered to take action on behalf of the Board.
BLR also is pressing Regents to do their business in public where everyone can see, and to publicly identify who is on each committee and what those committees do. Moreover, the organization insists that all meetings of the Board of Regents be open, except for discussions of personnel, consultation with an attorney, and property acquisition.
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