Statement from Interim Baylor President David Garland Regarding Campus Incidents

Nov. 5, 2008

Interim Baylor University President David E. Garland released the following statement today:

Baylor police reported today on three disturbing incidents that occurred on our campus yesterday.

Late Tuesday afternoon we were notified of a single clothesline rope that had been seen in a tree on campus. The individuals who discovered it believed it had the appearance of a noose. Baylor police are now in possession of the rope and continue to speak with students who observed the rope in the tree and are gathering additional information about the origin of the rope.

Last evening, police investigated a small fire in a barbecue pit adjacent to Brooks Flats in which it was alleged several Obama/Biden campaign signs had been burned.

Finally, police were called late last evening to a disturbance outside Penland Hall, where a shouting match had occurred between two small groups of white and African-American students.

These events are deeply disturbing to us and are antithetical to the mission of Baylor University. We categorically denounce and will not tolerate racist acts of any kind on our campus.

Further, we are committed to maintaining the safety and unity of our campus community. We wish to celebrate and strengthen inclusiveness, understanding and acceptance of all members of the Baylor family.

As they have thus far, Baylor police will respond quickly and decisively to any additional situations of this nature. Faculty, staff and students with information pertaining to any of the incidents we've described are urged to contact Baylor police at 710-2222.

Baylor has specific policies regarding expectations of civility and respect on our campus. Those policies, which we endorse and enforce, can be found at http://www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php?id=39242.

Faculty, staff and students also participate in on-going weekly meetings hosted by our department of multicultural activities called "Frankly Speaking" in which issues of the day are discussed in a respectful and civil manner. The goal of "Frankly Speaking" is for participants to feel comfortable expressing their opinions and beliefs within a safe environment. The meetings are held in the Bill Daniel Student Center each Tuesday from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., and members of the Baylor community are invited to participate.

We believe that the incidents on our campus yesterday were irresponsible acts committed by a few individuals. As a community we condemn these terribly unfortunate events that do not represent the values we share as members of the Baylor family.

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