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Students, leaders rally, pledge loyalty to Sloan

Sept. 12, 2003

By Sandi Villarreal, reporter

A group of close to 200 students gathered with student government members for a press conference Thursday in front of the Bill Daniel Student Center to voice their concerns on the state of the university.

'We, the students of Baylor, want to be heard,' Jeff Leach, a Plano junior and student body president, read from a prepared speech. 'For too long our voices have been ignored, and today our hope is that people will finally hear from the people who matter most - the students.'

Casey Watts, an Anson junior and student body external vice president, and Brad Pierce, a Dickinson senior and student body internal vice president, also attended.

Students cheered on Leach throughout his speech as he voiced his strong advocacy for the administration and for President Robert B. Sloan Jr. Many in attendance donned shirts and buttons and carried posters and bumper stickers, all with the same message 'I support President Sloan.'

'I think that everyone is tired of the negativity that has been the focus of Baylor,' Rachel Goodland, a The Woodlands sophomore, said after the conference. 'I want to tell the regents that I think they should try to work things out peacefully rather than going for the throat like they are right now.'

The message of the conference was that the students are an important part of the university and their opinions should be voiced in terms of how the university is run. No outspoken opponents of Sloan attended, but the supporters came out in full force.

'I came out here to support Baylor, President Sloan and Vision 2012,' Brian McLachlan, a Georgetown freshman, said. 'We, as the student body, support the vision of making Baylor University a top-tier university.'

Leach spoke to the Baylor Board of Regents Wednesday to represent the feelings of the student body.

'My report to the board of regents was that I think it would be a mistake to get rid of President Sloan,' he said. 'The board of regents needs to come out and say 'These are the problems' and 'This needs to be fixed,' and then rally behind Sloan, and things will get done a lot faster.'

Leach ended the conference by rallying the crowd with the Sic 'em Bears cheer, followed by an eruption of applause from the students.

'Today the students came out to say that we matter,' Leach said. 'We want to encourage unity. We want the ominous cloud over our campus to go away, and we want to move forward.'

The student government announced an open forum for students at 3 p.m. Sept. 23 in Miller Chapel in Tidwell Bible Building. At the forum, students will be able to address Sloan, Dr. David Jeffrey, provost and vice president for student affairs, David Brooks, vice president for finance and administration and Dr. Eileen Hulme, vice president for student life.