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Students, Baylor family must unite behind university, administration

Sept. 17, 2003

By Jeff Leach, student body president

To all who love Baylor University: It is now time to move forward together with moderation, temperance and control. According to a recent student life survey, more than 80 percent of our students support and are happy about Baylor's 10-year plan, Baylor 2012. However, students are not happy with the current climate of political divide and unrest.

We, the students of Baylor, need to be heard. For too long our voices have been ignored. I endorse the 2012 vision of our university, but also feel that more people, especially our students, need to play a central role in the development of our future.

Baylor over the past few months has endured many unfortunate events that have propelled us into the national spotlight. Throughout these debates the students continue to be overlooked. We can no longer be spectators and observers while our school is publicly slandered and ignorantly mischaracterized.

President Robert B. Sloan Jr. has given Baylor a vehicle, Baylor 2012, to advance the Christian and academic character of our university, and we need to rally behind him in this historic endeavor.

Baylor 2012 is comprised of core convictions. It is a bold vision that treasures yesterday, gives us strength for today and faith and hope for tomorrow.

I call for and challenge our administration to do everything in its power to promote communication and to help bring an end to divisiveness. I believe that the only way to move forward is to address the issues, take action, and support our leadership as they guide us.

I am not asking that we all agree, but that when we disagree it is not in a manner that hurts the integrity of our school. I urge us all to be united in defending the legacy and name of Baylor, to handle our grievances with moderation, restraint and civility. Be quick to practice patience. Let prudence dictate our actions to preserve our academic legacy and aspirations.

Currently, more forums are being scheduled and planned for alumni and other friends of Baylor to openly voice their opinion face to face with the senior administration.

On Tuesday, we will hold a student forum with President Sloan and other Baylor administrators so that questions may be answered and any concerns may be discussed. It is crucial that we open these lines of communication and provide students a chance to voice their opinions.

We pray this will bring back the spirit of a unified Baylor and resolution to many unanswered questions.

To my fellow students, keep your heads up. Together we will weather this storm and prove to ourselves, our parents, our alumni, the media and the world, the leadership that Baylor students can muster when tragedy and misfortunes abound. We are the heart of this institution.

I have full confidence and faith in both the vision, and the leaders who have brought us to our present state. I have faith that those leaders will listen and respect the opinions of all. I ask God to unite our family again. That we all, students, administration, faculty, alumni and staff may be one.

Remember this university is not about any one man or vision, it's about the students.