eNews: Resolution on Racial Healing and Justice

June 26, 2020

Dear Baylor Family,

These are extraordinary times in our nation and in higher education, and I am honored to be the Chair of Baylor’s Board of Regents as we walk through these days together. I am equally honored to be working alongside the selfless, committed Administration of our University.

Over the past months, as each of us has been fully awakened to the injustices faced daily by our brothers and sisters of color, we have been challenged to ask ourselves not only where our own personal biases have taken hold, but also where the organizations we lead and serve have opportunities to denounce racism and pursue change and a brighter future.

President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., whose leadership has already yielded multiple initiatives to examine and institute systems and conversation that lead to change, has engaged the Board in vital conversations about Baylor’s response and future actions. The Board has offered its full support and is committed to work hand-in-hand with University Administration to ensure Baylor is taking tangible steps to pursue equality and justice for our students, faculty, staff and all of the Baylor Family.

The Board of Regents has issued a resolution to codify its dedication to these efforts and to document the actions it will take to further the pursuit of a University committed to excellence in all things and striving to openly and actively ensure a campus community where every individual feels valued and equally a part of the pursuit of the University’s mission today and for the future.

The Resolution issued by the Baylor Board of Regents may be read in its entirety below.

Working together for a stronger Baylor University,

Mark Rountree
Chair, Board of Regents
Baylor University

Baylor University Board of Regents
Resolution on Racial Healing and Justice
June 25, 2020

The mission of Baylor University is to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community. That Christian commitment is inconsistent with racism in any form. Baylor has an opportunity and an obligation to pursue racial healing as an expression of our Christian faith and adherence to Biblical principles of justice and love.

Baylor was chartered on February 1, 1845, by the Republic of Texas, and Baylor accordingly reflected the times in which it grew as an institution of higher education during its first decades of operation in the community of Independence, located in Washington County, Texas.

We understand and acknowledge a number of the Baptist leaders and their congregants who began moving into Texas in the 1830s, primarily from the southern half of the United States, owned enslaved persons and held racial views common in that era. These early Baptists eventually included Baylor’s three founders – Judge R.E.B. Baylor, Rev. James Huckins and Rev. William M. Tryon – most members of its initial board of trustees, and several early leaders of the institution.

During Baylor’s infancy, a number of University leaders and prominent individuals connected to the institution supported Confederate causes and engaged in the fight to preserve the institution of slavery both during and following the Civil War, including some serving as members of the Confederacy’s armed forces.

THEREFORE, Baylor University recognizes its historic roots and initiates the process of racial conciliation.

BE IT RESOLVED that the Baylor University Board of Regents openly acknowledges the University’s historical connections to slavery and the Confederacy and must pursue opportunities to inclusively explore and engage in significant conversations about this aspect of the institution’s past.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board of Regents and University denounce racism in all its forms as being inconsistent with Baylor’s Christian mission and the teachings of Jesus Christ and remain committed to instituting and promoting tangible and systemic changes to ensure fair and equitable policies and practices and to holding individuals accountable for such actions and activities that contradict such policies and practices.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the University acknowledges the need to strengthen its commitment to a vibrant, diverse campus community and will intentionally listen to those affected by racism and shall develop a plan to initiate campus-wide conversations; to take steps to increase racial and ethnic diversity of our students, faculty, staff and Administration; and to recognize the significant contributions of the Black community throughout Baylor’s history.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board of Regents, as an extension of the Administration’s important, ongoing work of racial conciliation and as part of this process, hereby establishes a Commission on Historic Campus Representations at Baylor University, an advisory committee established to provide guidance on presenting Baylor’s history as the University continues working to foster an environment through which racial equality is inextricably linked to its mission, and in which students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of color know they are valued and loved throughout the Baylor community, both on campus and in all reaches of the Baylor Family.

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Commission on Historic Campus Representations shall review the historical context of the University and its connection with all statues, monuments, buildings and other aspects of the campus in reference to their physical location, placement and naming, and provide observations for consideration by the Administration and Board of Regents.

AND BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that this resolution be shared with all constituencies of Baylor University in a spirit of openness and transparency and with an expression of the Board’s recommitment to providing a Christ-like compassion and dedication to equality, justice and conciliation at Baylor, throughout our state and nation and among all people.

The Baylor University Board of Regents this twenty-fifth day of June two thousand twenty:

Mark Rountree
Chair, Board of Regents
Baylor University

Members of the Board of Regents

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