About the Commission
In June 2020, Baylor’s Board of Regents passed a resolution acknowledging that during the University’s first decades of operation in the community of Independence, the institution’s three founders, most members of its initial board of trustees, and several early leaders of the institution owned enslaved persons. It further acknowledged that a number of Baylor’s 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.
On June 26, 2020, the Board announced the formation of the Commission on Historic Campus Representations, an advisory committee charged with providing 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.
The Commission was charged to review the historical record and context of the University and its early leaders; evaluate all statues, monuments, buildings and other aspects of the campus within the historical context; propose a plan for documenting and communicating our history; and prepare a final report of their recommendations.
The 26 members of the Commission represented all aspects of University life – students, faculty, staff, alumni (many of them also current or past Baylor parents) and Board members. The group met bi-weekly throughout fall 2020 and delivered the Final Report to the Board of Regents Chair and University President in late December.
Following review of the recommendations by the Board and Administration in early 2021, a series of Conversation events was hosted via online webinars to share with the Baylor Family the historical context of the 19th Century and the impact of slavery in America, Texas, Baptist life and on the University’s founding and early years. This context was an important first step in understanding the recommendations of the Commission.
This website serves as a record of the Commission’s charge, membership, process and report.
The Baylor Board of Regents unanimously approved a resolution in June 2020 that acknowledged the University’s founders and early leaders owned enslaved persons, and recognized other prominent leaders supported Confederate causes and engaged in the fight to preserve the institution of slavery both during and following the Civil War. The resolution also acknowledged that the Christian commitment that is the bedrock of the University is inconsistent with racism in any form and denounced racism in all its forms. Further, the resolution resolved to ensure fair and equitable policies and practices and strengthen the University’s commitment to a vibrant, diverse campus community.
The Commission was charged to develop a set of observations and recommendations for the Board of Regents and Administration to consider as to how best to communicate and reflect the complete history of Baylor University for current and future generations. Four specific steps laid out in the charge served as the framework for the Commission’s work.
The 26-member Commission was led by three co-chairs and reflected all aspects of campus life – undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, alumni (many of them current or past Baylor parents), and Board members. Each member brought their unique perspective to the open, honest and thorough fulfillment of the Charge.
Student members of Baylor’s Commission on Historic Campus Representations share their perspectives on the work and recommendations of the Commission.
We find ourselves, as a Christian community and an institution of higher learning, with an important opportunity as we give consideration to the thoughtful observations and recommendations found within the final, independent Report of the Commission on Historic Campus Representations.