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BU family should let Lilley lead

Nov. 11, 2005

by JONATHAN LUDWIG, columnist

With new president Dr. John M. Lilley taking office in a couple of months, Baylor should present him not only with his own armored limousine, but a flak-jacket, bodyguards and a special green-and-gold pair of ear protectors. Or better yet, faculty, students and alumni should replace a "jump to conclusions" mat outside Pat Neff with one that says "welcome." Lilley deserves a sporting chance.

First of all, a message for faculty and staff: It's time to move on. During the last three years I've attended Baylor, I've heard nothing but complaints, rumors and gossip about the administration from all levels of the Baylor hierarchy. While I cannot say what was and was not true about various allegations, the faculty will now have a chance to wipe the slate of grievances clean. At the same time, they must be willing to mesh their beliefs with the realities of an evolving Baylor culture.

Students and alumni will also be charged with mending fences and finding common ground with the new administration. From liberals to conservative Baptists, the wide range of opinions should be represented as a whole, allowing solutions to be balanced and moderate. Inflexibility is not an option because proceeding against too strong of a tide, as we have seen, can cause almost irreparable divisions.

Lilley, too, bears a large share of responsibility. He must understand the past conflicts within the faculty, students and alumni and work to ensure transparency, fairness and willingness to compromise for the greater good of Baylor. Above all, he must unite the Baylor family. No hidden cameras, no secret professor removals.

Lastly, the Baylor Board of Regents should be held accountable for its unanimous election of Lilley. The board must show the Baylor family that it takes seriously the necessity of solidarity in determining the direction of Baylor, and with that, demanding openness and flexibility from Lilley.

In May, I will become an alumnus of Baylor University. Will my graduating class and I be contributing to Baylor when we're all rich and famous?

Maybe the better question is this: Will the new administration, the board, the faculty and alumni put down their pitchforks and torches in favor of compromise and progress?

I think they will.

In the words of President Bush, "Let's roll."

Jonathan Ludwig is a senior political science and English major from Austin.