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BU acknowledges school’s tie to slavery, regents pass racial healing resolution

Baylor University regents Friday passed a resolution acknowledging the school’ historical ties to slavery and the Confederacy and initiating “a process on racial conciliation across the university.” (Baylor University photo/file)
Baylor University regents Friday passed a resolution acknowledging the school’ historical ties to slavery and the Confederacy and initiating “a process on racial conciliation across the university.” (Baylor University photo/file)(KWTX)
Published: Jun. 26, 2020 at 4:04 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 26, 2020 at 5:19 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Baylor University regents Friday passed a resolution acknowledging the school’ historical ties to slavery and the Confederacy and initiating “a process on racial conciliation across the university.”

“Now is the time for Baylor, as a Christian university, to look deeply within our hearts, and listen and learn with humility about our past and from voices that have been unheard for years while also taking tangible steps forward,” Baylor President Dr. Linda Livingstone said.

“We must understand that we are all God’s children. As president, I am firmly committed to ongoing open conversations and the hard work ahead of confronting systemic racism, injustice and inequality at our University, historic and cultural representations on our campus and the deeply painful experiences of racism shared by current and former students, faculty and staff.”

The Resolution on Racial Healing and Justice, unanimously approved as both "an opportunity and an obligation to pursue racial healing as an expression of the Christian faith and adherence to Biblical principles of justice and love," calls on the board and the university to "pursue opportunities to inclusively explore and engage in significant conversations about this aspect of the institution's past."

The resolution acknowledges “that a number of the Baptist leaders and their congregants who began moving into Texas in the 1830s, primarily from the southern half of the United States, owned enslaved persons and held racial views common in that era” and that those early Baptists included Baylor’s three founders, Judge R.E.B. Baylor, Rev. James Huckins and Rev. William M. Tryon, most members of the school’s first board of trustees, and several of the school’s early leaders.

It also acknowledges that some of the school’s leaders as well as prominent individuals connected to Baylor “supported Confederate causes and engaged in the fight to preserve the institution of slavery both during and following the Civil War, including some serving as members of the Confederacy’s armed forces.”

Baylor was chartered on Feb. 1, 1845 by the Republic of Texas and first operated in Independence in Washington County before moving to Waco in 1886.

The resolution also includes a denouncement by the board and the school “of racism in all its forms as being inconsistent with Baylor’s Christian mission and the teachings of Jesus Christ;” a commitment to “instituting and promoting tangible and systemic changes to ensure fair and equitable policies and practices and to holding individuals accountable for such actions and activities that contradict such policies and practices,” and acknowledgement “of the need to strengthen its commitment to a vibrant, diverse campus community, including listening intentionally to those affected by racism as well as through campus-wide conversations; to take steps to increase racial and ethnic diversity of students, faculty, staff and administration; and to recognize the significant contributions of the Black community throughout Baylor’s history.”

Read Baylor University’s press release on the resolution

Read the resolution

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