Stop the Presses! Dance Fever to Hit Baylor April 18

April 4, 1996

WACO, Texas-The Berlin Wall has fallen, Big Macs have invaded Russia, and there are lights at Wrigley Field.

Mankind's last great resistance is about to be history:

There will be dancing at Baylor University.

It's true. Boogie Fever has hit Waco.

The 'D' word will no longer be taboo at the world's largest Baptist university. The first official dance will be held at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 18, on Fifth Street in the middle of campus. The dance will wrap up "Diadeloso," which is Spanish for "Day of the Bear," and a student holiday held each spring featuring games and activities.

Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr., a Baylor graduate and an ordained Baptist minister who has preached throughout the world, and his wife, Sue, also a Baylor grad, will perform the first dance.

The heavens will not shake, but it will be an historic time for Baylor and Baptists everywhere.

"Students have said for many years that they should be allowed to dance on campus," said Sloan, who became Baylor president June 1, 1995.

"We've always had theater productions which contained dancing, and musical events that had dancing, and our cheerleaders and songleaders have had dance routines at athletic events. In that regard, we've been a little hypocritical. We should either have dancing or ban it, and the Board of Regents and myself all agreed it should be allowed. We don't think we should chase students off campus if they want to dance."

Although there has never been an official written policy that banned dancing on the campus of the 151-year-old school, it traditionally was not allowed. Student groups, such as fraternities and sororities which wanted to have dances, held the events off campus, sometimes as far as 100 miles or more. Safety - as in safe travel to and from those dance locations - also figured in the decision to lift the ban on dancing, Sloan added.

Five bands, ranging from country and western to rock, new wave and oldies, will perform on stages set up along Fifth Street. The Baylor Chamber of Commerce, a student organization coordinating the dance, has printed up thousands of T-shirts for the occasion, with the slogan "A Miracle on Fifth Street."

Student body president Collin Cox, a Waco junior, says that student support "for dancing is overwhelming. A recent survey revealed 94 percent of the student body favors dancing on campus."

Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas, Baylor is the oldest university in Texas. It is also the world's largest Baptist university with a current enrollment of about 12,000 students.

NOTE TO MEDIA: WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO COVER THIS EVENT. NO CREDENTIALS ARE NECESSARY. A MEDIA WORK ROOM WILL BE SET UP IN PAT NEFF HALL, AND A LOCATION WILL BE ARRANGED FOR TV SATELLITE TRUCKS.

Looking for more news from Baylor University?