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Baylor fails to honor prominent Democrats

Jan. 19, 2001

Baylor wants President-Elect George W. Bush's Presidential Library. Can you blame the school? I mean, what college would not want to have a presidential library on its campus? Bush did not attend Baylor and he has not done anything for Baylor. But that's OK, because being an alumnus of a university or donating money to it are not prerequisites for a school to build your library, should you become president. Now, officials at Southern Methodist University have publicly said they want a shot at Bush's library, and it seems that they have a more legitimate claim to it -- SMU was Laura Bush's school, and she served as a trustee there as well. And I am sure plenty of other schools will put themselves in the running for Bush's presidential library, too, by the time he leaves office. If Baylor is selected, it will no doubt be an asset to campus, but the fact that Baylor is going after the library sends a horrible message to many of its alumni, as well as to its students, and here's why: Where is Ann Richards Hall, or the Mark White Plaza, the Jim Maddox Room or the Bob Bullock Memorial?

These places do not exist. Other than a 'distinguished alumni' or a small award, Baylor seems to ignore the role these alumni played in state and national politics. These are all full-fledged graduates of Baylor, and have had extremely successful careers in politics, yet their accomplishments have gone unappreciated by Baylor. Why?

With Baylor's recent play for Bush's presidential library, the answer now seems apparent. Richards, White, Maddox and Bullock were all liberals, all Democrats. Their political philosophies were not 'in tune' with Baylor's conservative, Republican-leaning ideology.

Baylor has a funny little problem. In recent times, all its high profile graduates who have held public office have been Democrats, and when a school has such a conservative alumni base and administration, there is not much desire to honor these graduates with even so much as a tree on campus being named after them.

It's not only an insult to Richards, Maddox and the others, but also to those Baylor students that happen to not be conservative, Republican or a member of the religious right. It tells them their school does not appreciate them. It basically says, 'We do not want you here,' and if you are successful in the future, we will not acknowledge you.

Having a presidential library is a great opportunity for any school. That Baylor is going all out for Bush's library so early sends a message to the country that the school is serious about getting the library. But the message it sends to students and alumni is that if you are conservative, and the Christians support you, then Baylor will honor you. Otherwise, you need not apply.

CLINT COX

Opinion writer

Clint Cox is a junior political science major from Paris, Texas. He worked as an intern for Al Gore's presidential campaign last summer.