Presidential Perspective - March 18, 2021
Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:
Since I became a university president, I rarely have the opportunity to assign homework. But as we prepare for the release of the report from the Commission on Historic Campus Representations on Tuesday, I strongly encourage you to watch all three of the Baylor Conversation Series events: "Perspectives on Our History." These distinguished panels provide context about slavery in the United States, in Texas and among Texas Baptists during the time of Baylor's founding in the mid-1800s. It's important that we all prepare our hearts and minds to learn more about the complete history of our University, as well as to receive the recommendations of the Commission.
If you were able to listen live to the Conversation earlier this week, it was evident that the work of the Commission considered and embraced Baylor's Christian mission. The members took great care and concern for the University's history and described the "additive approach" they employed when deliberating the resulting recommendations. We look forward to sharing the complete and unedited, independent report of the Commission with you as we continue in this journey of redemption and reconciliation and exemplify the instructions of Jesus to "love your neighbor as yourself."
Also for this week:
- As we start looking toward the fall semester, I want you to know that we are planning for a return to "normal" campus operations beginning in August. Of course, five months is a long way away as we all continue to learn how to more effectively coexist with the COVID-19 virus. While the fall schedule of classes continues to be built, our class offerings will look more like Fall 2019 than Fall 2020. We expect that the large majority of classes will return to in-person delivery; however, we are planning for an online option for courses with multiple sections. Please watch your Baylor email for more information in the weeks and months ahead.
- If you have not yet filled out the COVID-19 Vaccination Interest Form for Baylor Health Services, we encourage you to do so, regardless of your prioritized level to receive the vaccine. This will allow our medical professionals with Health Services to contact you about future vaccination opportunities. This is an exciting development in helping us take important steps toward normalcy, so I highly encourage you to get vaccinated when you can. If you previously filled out the interest form but have been fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the FDA for emergency use at an off-campus location, please complete the Vaccination Reporting Form and upload a photo of your COVID-19 vaccine card.
- After reading about the horrific shootings Tuesday in Atlanta, Georgia, we grieve with our Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) neighbors, brothers and sisters in the midst of what has been an intense year of anti-Asian sentiment and violence. We are constantly reminded that racism is not merely a black and white issue; it affects all of us. As fellow bearers of the image of God, know that you are part of our Baylor Family, and we especially will not stand for such sentiment, bias or violence within our community. If you experience such things, know that we have resources available for you through the Equity Office.
- This is the time of year when students are announced as recipients of prestigious and highly competitive national and international scholarships. We received great news last week that senior biology major Emily Schultz won the Churchill Scholarship in mathematics, science and engineering from the Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States. Schultz conducts research under faculty member Kelli Barr, Ph.D., on emerging viral diseases like Zika, and she is Baylor's first Churchill Scholar, an achievement especially noteworthy since this is the University's first year as an elite participating institution in the program.
Get your remote controls -- or for our students, streaming devices -- ready, as March Madness is here! Coach Scott Drew and the Bears open up the NCAA Tournament tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. against Hartford, while Coach Kim Mulkey and the Lady Bears play Sunday at 3 p.m. against Jackson State. Our men's and women's basketball teams have the lowest combined seedings of any schools in the NCAA Tournament.
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.