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BU group protests partisan statement

Nov. 2, 2004

By BRIAN D. PHILLIPS, reporter

Baylor Young Conservatives of Texas issued a statement Monday opposing President Emeritus Herbert Reynolds "for his unprofessional, unprovoked and unacceptable television attack against U.S. congressional candidate Arlene Wohlgemuth."

In recent TV commercials, Reynolds accused Wohlgemuth of lying about Congressman Chet Edwards' voting record. He confirmed that Edwards, D-Waco, opposes partial birth abortion, gay marriage and gay adoption and that he is "a deeply religious man."

In a press conference at the Waco Suspension Bridge, members of the group argued that Reynolds' claims about Edwards were false. They demanded that he apologize to State Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth, R-Burleson, her supporters and the Baylor family.

"The Baylor Young Conservatives of Texas are certainly entitled to their highly biased opinion," Reynolds said. "Surely they are not suggesting that Arlene Wohlgemuth's ads have been pristine examples of professionalism. I do apologize for not having come forth even sooner in defense of Chet Edwards."

Chapter chairwoman Shelly Liles, an Orange sophomore, said a Baylor figurehead like Reynolds should not publicly discredit a conservative candidate.

Robert Shaw | Lariat staff
Right to left: Josh Tetens, an Arlington junior; Shelly Liles, an Orange sophomore; and

Charles Horton, an Irving freshman, campaign near the Suspension Bridge Monday.

"Wohlgemuth stands for the principles that Baylor was founded on," Liles said. "We are a Baptist university, and we were founded on a Christian heritage. ... For [Reynolds] to come out and endorse Chet Edwards, behind the Baylor name, is unacceptable."

Members of the group said Reynolds misrepresented Edwards' voting record.

"He does need to apologize," Josh Tetens, an Arlington junior, said. "Everything he said is false."

Tetens said Baylor authorities should take action against Reynolds.

"The board of regents, the administration, whoever has the power should reprimand him, censor him, for the false accusations that he made while using his title as former president of Baylor," he said.

Young Conservatives of Texas, a state organization, endorses Arlene Wohlgemuth as a candidate for Congress.

"She has an 87 percent conservative rating with us, whereas Mr. Edwards does not have a high rating with us at all," Liles said. "We feel that she's the most qualified candidate for the position, and we will do whatever it takes to get her in office."

Tetens sent out an e-mail on Sunday evening announcing a press conference at 5 p.m. Monday near the Bear Pit. The General Counsel's office informed Tetens that the group could not hold a press conference on campus because it might threaten Baylor's non-profit status.

"We find it disappointing that an official, recognized organization is not allowed to present these ideas to the media on ... campus," Tetens said.

The General Counsel's office could not be reached for comment Monday.gjg v