Baylor University Announces Members, Charges for Commission on Historic Campus Representations
WACO, Texas (July 6, 2020) – Baylor University today announced the members of the 26-member Commission on Historic Campus Representations – established as part of a unanimously passed resolution by the Board of the Regents on June 26 that acknowledged the University's historical connections to slavery and the Confederacy – and the specific charges that will guide the work of the Commission.
Through the following specific charges, the Commission will develop of a set of observations for consideration by the Board of Regents and Administration about how to best communicate and reflect the complete history of Baylor University for current and future generations.
Specifically, the Commission will:
- Review the complete historical record and context of the University and its founders and early leaders, including historical connections to slavery and racial injustice.
- Propose a plan for documenting and communicating the complete history of Baylor and its founders and early leaders, including historical connections to slavery and racial injustice.
- Evaluate all statues, monuments, buildings and other aspects of campus within this complete historical context and in reference to the original intentions behind their physical location, placement and naming and provide observations for consideration.
- Prepare a final report to be provided to the Board of Regents and the President no later than Dec. 20, 2020.
The Commission on Historic Campus Representations will be co-chaired by the following, with Baylor University degrees indicated:
- Alicia D.H. Monroe, M.D., Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic and Faculty Affairs, Baylor College of Medicine, and member, Baylor Board of Regents
- Gary Mortenson, D.M.A., Professor and Dean, Baylor University School of Music
- Walter Abercrombie (B.S. '82, M.S.Ed. '92), Associate Athletics Director for Baylor "B" Association
Members of the Commission, who represent students, faculty, staff and alumni, include:
- Katie Adair (Doctoral Candidate), President, Graduate Student Association
- Joel Allison (B.A. '70), retired President and CEO, Baylor Scott & White Health, and former Chair, Baylor Board of Regents
- Jayson Baldridge, Senior, Student-Athlete, Track & Field
- Lexy Bogney, Junior, Secretary and Community Coordination Chair, Baylor NAACP
- Michael A. Evans Sr. (D.Min. '09), Senior Pastor, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Mansfield, Texas; member, Baylor Board of Regents; and President, Baptist General Convention of Texas
- Malcolm Foley (Ph.D. Candidate), Special Advisor to the President for Equity and Campus Engagement
- Cheryl Gochis (B.A. '91, M.A. '94), Vice President, Human Resources/Chief Human Resources Officer
- Dominque Hill, Director of Wellness and Past-President, Black Faculty and Staff Association
- Sutton Houser, Senior, Student Body President
- Trent Hughes (B.A. '98), Vice President of Sales, Curazene, and Vice President, Baylor Alumni Board of Advocates
- Sher Isada, Junior, University Scholar, and Student Regent
- Alan Lefever (B.A. '84), Director, Texas Baptist Historical Collection, and member, Baylor Alumni Board of Advocates
- Sandra Lené, Associate Vice President, Operations and Financial Services, Advancement
- Mark Lovvorn (B.B.A. '76, B.Acc. '77), Chairman and CEO Providence Bancshares Corp., Dallas, Texas, and member, Baylor Board of Regents
- Michael McFarland (B.B.A. '93, Ed.D. '05), Superintendent of Schools, Crowley Independent School District, and member, Baylor Board of Regents
- Bill Neilson, M.D., (B.A. '76), retired Associate Dean, Honors College and Clinical Professor, Medical Humanities
- Michael Parrish, Ph.D. (B.A. '74, M.A. '76), Linden G. Bowers Professor of American History
- Coretta Pittman, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English and Chair-Elect, Faculty Senate
- Mia Moody-Ramirez, Ph.D. (M.S.Ed. '98, M.A. '01), Professor and Chair, Journalism, Public Relations and New Media
- Marcus Sedberry, Senior Associate Athletics Director for Student-Athlete Development
- Tyrha Lindsey-Warren, Ph.D., Clinical Assistant Professor of Marketing
- Doug Weaver, Ph.D., Professor of Religion, Undergraduate Program Director and Director of Church-State Studies
- Mya Ellington-Williams, Senior, member, Black Student Union
Ex-Officio Commission Members
- Kristy Orr (J.D. '03), Baylor University Board Professional
- Todd Copeland, Ph.D. (B.A. '90), Director, Advancement Marketing
- Karen Kemp (B.B.A. '84, M.B.A. '85), Associate Vice President, University Marketing and Brand Strategy
"We are grateful to these individuals who have agreed to contribute their expertise and perspectives to this important work as members of the Commission," said Board Chair Mark Rountree, B.B.A. '86, M.T.A. '87. "The Commission will provide guidance on presenting Baylor's complete history as the University continues striving to foster an environment through which racial equality is inextricably linked to our 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."
In its June 26 Resolution, the Board outlined its acknowledgement and recognition of the University's historic connections to slavery from its chartering on Feb. 1, 1845, by the Republic of Texas, and during its first decades of operation as an institution of higher education in Independence, located in Washington County, Texas. Baylor moved from Independence to Waco, Texas, in 1886.
The full resolution is available on the Board of Regents website.
The Board's Resolution acknowledged the University's historical connections to slavery and the Confederacy, including:
- The understanding and acknowledgment that 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."
- That during Baylor's early years, "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."
In addition to establishing the Commission, the Board's resolution acknowledging and recognizing the University's historic roots also included:
- The denouncement by the Board and the University of "racism in all its forms as being inconsistent with Baylor's Christian mission and the teachings of Jesus Christ,"
- The steadfast commitment of both 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," and
- The University's acknowledgement of the need to strengthen its commitment to a vibrant, diverse campus community, including listening intentionally to those affected by racism as well as through campus-wide conversations; to take steps to increase racial and ethnic diversity of students, faculty, staff and Administration; and to recognize the significant contributions of the Black community throughout Baylor's history.
"Now is the time for Baylor, as a Christian university, to lead by listening and learning with humility about our past and from voices that have been unheard for years while also taking tangible steps forward. In addition to making an important and visible contribution to today's campus and Baylor community, the Commission's work will create a lasting legacy for future generations of Baylor Bears," Rountree said.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 18,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.