The residents of Waco and subscribers to the Waco Trib must find the dispute between Baylor University and the Baylor Alumni Association very tiresome. I find it tiresome, and I am a member of the BAA, an important organization I fully and confidently support.
For over 150 years we have walked hand in hand with Baylor University as an integral part of its ongoing development. We have made many contributions, both monetarily and personally to the university.
Past Baylor Presidents Abner McCall and Herbert Reynolds understood the importance of an independent alumni association. They participated in the BAA organization and saw the need to protect it. President Reynolds is quoted saying, “I think that there are certain occasions when it is most helpful for alumni to have an independent voice that is not bridled by forces internal or external to the university. To the extent that the BAA has that kind of autonomy, it has proved to be very beneficial; the association can speak out on matters of interest and concern, particularly when the university regents or administrators feel some inhibition to do so for whatever reason.”
On Sept. 8, 1993, President Reynolds, representing Baylor University, signed a contract granting the BAA the perpetual right to use the Baylor name. In my opinion the current Baylor law team has twisted the one small reservation regarding the use of the Baylor name, which I believe will be difficult to prove in court. Also in this contract, the BAA is recognized as the official alumni organization representing Baylor and all of its academic units. One requirement in the contract was for the BAA to maintain administrative offices on Baylor’s Waco campus.
A contract was signed by President Reynolds on May 27, 1994, again representing Baylor University, protecting the right of the BAA to have a building on campus with a few exceptions. Baylor took these exceptions and testified in court that the land which the beautiful Hughes-Dillard Alumni Center was on was needed for approaching McLane Stadium. It was bulldozed in July 2013. This need has proven to be untrue as it is now a patch of grass with a sidewalk that could have easily been made around Hughes-Dillard Alumni Center. This destruction was a power play and an attempt to put a nail in what Baylor hoped would be the BAA’s coffin.
Don’t call the funeral director just yet. The destruction of our beautiful building was to take the alumni center out of people’s sight to weaken the BAA. This hasn’t happened. It only angered a lot of people, alumni and Waco citizens.
In my opinion and the opinion of many other Baylor alumni, a few vindictive, mean-spirited people with a special agenda have goaded and bullied the administration to take legal actions against the BAA.
Baylor Nation, Baylor Alumni Association members who have forgotten our mission, Baylor students and Baylor Law School students, look closely at these legal, written contractual agreements. Review the events beginning with then-President Robert B. Sloan’s determination to destroy the BAA, which began in 2002 and has continued through his vindictive supporters, even after his departure. Tell me after studying these things if you think Baylor University is in the right.
Marian Funderburk and her husband graduated from Baylor University in 1969. She spent 35 years as a social worker and is now retired and living in Woodway.