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Prestigious position awaits Baylor

Sept. 19, 1996

Eddie

Sanchez

Lariat News Editor

Baylor is entering an exciting chapter in its 150-plus year history. Our entry into the Big 12 is a significant step that will not only improve our athletic programs but will also increase our national coverage and recognition.

Instead of shrugging and sarcastically saying 'Whoopee, Big 12,' students, administrators and faculty alike should seize the opportunity to help give Baylor the recognition it deserves.

As the only private, religiously affiliated university in the Big 12, the University brings a unique culture and perspective to the conference. Though some are calling for a toning down of Baylor's overtly religious orientation in order to better integrate into this new atmosphere, Baylor's heritage should be preserved to show the nation the difference between Baylor and the other 'big state schools' in the Big 12.

A myth that needs to be dispelled is that religiously affiliated universities are somehow intellectually inferior to state or secular private schools. Most of the great universities founded in Europe and the United States were founded on religious principles.

Among them were Harvard, Brown, Duke and Dartmouth. These schools have a great tradition of intellectual freedom, and there should be no reason why Baylor cannot as well.

We should not rest on our laurels. Approximately two-thirds of Baylor's student population lives off-campus, a very high percentage for a non-commuter school. Baylor should integrate these students into campus life and make them feel part of the Baylor family.

Expanding the dial-up access for off-campus students is one way to give them most of the advantages students enjoy on the on-campus computers.

For its size, Baylor has a remarkable closeness and sense of community. This is another strength Baylor needs to capitalize on. The Student Life Complex is a step in the right direction.

As Baylor enters the 21st century, it is poised to take a prestigious position as one of the premier private institutions in the Southwest.

National recognition will come perhaps more slowly, but as its position in the Big 12 becomes more established, it will surely arrive.

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