Presidential Perspective - August 24, 2017

August 24, 2017
Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:

What a fantastic start to the semester! The campus feels alive again as our students make their way across campus to class, to the SLC, to the library – yes, even the library this early in the semester. There is nothing quite like the picture of Baylor’s campus, vibrant and full of life with activity, new experiences and friends of old and new greeting one another when they meet.

One of the most beautiful aspects of our caring Christian community is the diversity so vividly represented on our campus. Baylor holds an unwavering commitment to fostering and nurturing the diversity of our students, faculty and staff. More than that, we unabashedly celebrate our diversity. Doing so makes us stronger as a community, with each person contributing his or her perspectives and enriching wisdom gained from a unique path through life.

The diversity of God’s created world is an integral part of its majesty. Likewise, the Baylor Family’s diversity lies at the core of our mission to transform lives and serve others. We are called to respect and learn from one another in a manner that reflects God’s love for every person. What’s more, we are all God’s children, created in His image.

At times, members of our community may stumble and events occur that are hurtful to others. When they do, as was the case last spring when a racially insensitive themed party was held by a student organization, the University initiates a process of investigation and adjudication and, when the circumstances warrant, issues appropriate sanctions, education and restorative measures that allow the organization to illustrate change. Be assured that I take seriously any report of behavior by an organization or individual that violates University policy or illustrates disrespect for others. I am hopeful that anyone or any organization that shows disrespect for another can learn from the experience and emerge by positively contributing to the University environment.

As we begin this semester, I am more convicted than ever that we, as the Baylor Family, are called to a higher standard. Our students, faculty and staff come from all walks of life and all corners of the globe. We all must understand that demonstrating caring compassion, treating each other with dignity and showing respect for every person are non-negotiables.

Throughout the coming weeks and months, I hope you will join me in living out our mission as a caring Christian community and in doing so holding each other accountable to these ideals. I ask that you choose to believe in each other and in the value of our differences. I pray you will consider the impact of your attitudes and actions toward others. I encourage you to report incidents so we may take action. Together, we can stand against disrespect and violence on every front.

I give thanks for everyone who has chosen to call Baylor home. We are truly blessed by your capacity for compassion and your conviction to love your neighbor as yourself.

Thank you for your commitment to Baylor, and we will return to the regular format of my Presidential Perspective next Thursday.

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
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