Dear Baylor Supporters:
We had an unfortunate situation occur this past Friday in connection with a 9/11 remembrance display on the Baylor University campus. Each year Baylor's chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas places small American flags as part of an exhibit in honor of each person who lost their lives on 9/11. If you have ever seen the thousands of flags dotting Fountain Mall, it is a powerful, moving memorial of one of the darkest days in our country's history.
Over the past year Baylor's Division of Student Life has instituted a new process of posting notices of all temporary exhibits in open access areas of campus that may evoke an emotional reaction. These signs are meant to provide advance notice to students, faculty, staff and visitors of the nature and context of the temporary exhibit that they may walk past. In this case, the exhibit's purpose was to remember the 2,977 lives lost in the 9/11 attacks; in essence, it was a temporary memorial to those who died on that tragic day. Our process should have produced a notice informing students, faculty, staff and visitors of the upcoming 9/11 display and reminding them of its solemn and reverential meaning.
Unfortunately, the execution of this process was frankly very poor. Instead of providing notice and context of the display to what a passerby might experience in advance, plain white signs with the text "Please be advised: sensitive content" were placed in the midst of this moving, patriotic exhibit of American flags. I suspect that you might have become aware of this disappointing situation via social media or several blog posts over the past few days.
Please be assured that Baylor stands strong in support of our country, the American flag and in remembering the lives lost through such an impactful display. This incident certainly is not reflective of Baylor's Christian ideals and Baptist heritage upon which the University was founded 175 years ago. The Young Conservatives of Texas do an incredible job with this annual 9/11 exhibit. Simply put, we need to do better in implementing our policies and procedures and in recognizing the greater context of such exhibits. Our Student Life staff has since apologized for how the display was handled to the president of Baylor's Young Conservatives of Texas, as well as to the student group's faculty advisor.
To you, a faithful Baylor supporter, we also sincerely apologize for this situation. We have already identified the areas in which we did not follow our processes, and we will address those shortcomings to ensure we don't have a similar incident in the future. We appreciate your trust in Baylor fulfilling our mission and being a light for Christian higher education.
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
Note: Baylor University Statement on 9/11 Display of American Flags