Bears for Leadership Reform supports open meetings legislation

“Let the truth come out,” John Eddie Williams, a Houston lawyer and president of Bears for Leadership Reform, said in a teleconference announcing the letter his group sent to Baylor’s board.

Regents have “squandered precious resources” that could have benefitted students in an effort to maintain the board’s “cloak of secrecy,” said Williams, a major donor to Baylor, for whom the school’s football field is named.

Williams and others—including Temple businessman and major Baylor donor Drayton McLane and former Gov. Mark White—organized Bears for Leadership Reform last November.

Randy Ferguson, a former Baylor regent who serves on the Bears for Leadership Reform board, pointed to the recommendations from the Pepper Hamilton law firm that investigated Baylor’s response to sexual assault complaints.

He noted the recommendations included governance issues not addressed in the regents-produced Findings of Fact, and asked why the board did not choose to include any information about its own failures in the document.

“Is this why the Findings of Fact came from the board instead of Pepper Hamilton?” Ferguson asked. “It really begs the question: Is this intentional? Could it be an intentional cover-up just to protect certain board members?”

Ferguson called on regents to answer several questions:

  • What are the “actual or perceived conflicts of interests” alluded to in the recommendations?
  • How have board members’ conflicts of interest affected the victims of the sexual-abuse tragedy at Baylor?
  • Did the conflicts of interest constitute a breach of board members’ fiduciary responsibilities?
  • Who are the board members—past and present—with conflicts of interests?
  • Has the board failed to exercise due diligence standards in selecting current or former board members?
  • Who are the regents who failed to exercise due diligence in board member selection?
  • Which regents—past and present—were elected outside of due diligence standards?

“Doesn’t the Baylor Family have the right to know the answers to these questions?” Ferguson asked.

“In our opinion, the failure of leadership described in the (Pepper Hamilton) recommendations is enough to suggest a serious breach of fiduciary responsibility on the part of the leaders of the board of regents,” the letter from Bears for Leadership Reform said.

“The failure of leadership has had a profound impact on the victims of this tragedy and the reputation of Baylor. Indeed, Baylor has become the national poster child for sexual assault on campus, due to the lack of proper programs, policies and procedures. More significantly, the board is an example of how failed leadership that operates and deliberates in secret can allow a scandal to continue to engulf a university.”

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