Baylor University Statement in Response to Bears for Leadership Reform Letter

April 6, 2017
Baylor University continues to be aware of the Bears for Leadership Reform’s views. Today’s statements by the BLR ignore the considerable progress the Baylor Board of Regents has made to create greater visibility into the governance of the University, as well as to combat the issue of sexual assault.

Since last year, the Board has taken the following steps, which the BLR has consistently refused to acknowledge:
  • A change of University and Athletic Department leadership;
  • The adoption of 105 recommendations from the Pepper Hamilton law firm to improve Baylor's response under Title IX. The majority of these measures already have been implemented or operationalized;
  • The dissolution of the Board’s Athletic Committee to bring intercollegiate athletics more in line with the mission of the University;
  • Continued training for Board leaders by the Association of Governing Boards and other resources;
  • The adoption of 20 pages of recommendations by an independent Board Governance Task Force, involving some of the country’s most respected corporate leaders. The changes included:
    • Development of a new statement of commitment and responsibilities;
    • Establishment of an executive committee, along with the creation of two additional vice-chairs;
    • Opened up the Regent nomination process to more stakeholder participation;
    • Granted voting rights to faculty, student, Bear Foundation and B. Association Regents;
    • Changed the procedures for selecting Board leadership;
    • Developed a new schedule for committee meetings to allow broader participation;
    • Created a Regents website to include membership and biographies;
    • Posted University foundational documents, board schedules and agendas, and committee assignments online; and
    • Conducted media debriefing following the last Board meeting.
As for the issue of public meetings, the Board has thoroughly considered this question. In addition, the Governance Task Force reviewed policies and procedures at other highly respected private universities, as well as recommendations from the American Bar Association, and confirmed the Board’s position. For private institutions such as Baylor, public meetings would preclude robust and frank discussion among the Regents about sensitive issues such as sexual assault.

The BLR has made their opinions known both to the public and to us on many occasions. As always, Baylor’s Board of Regents remains open to input from across the Baylor Family.
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