Baylor reform group gives new president some time and space

(Baylor University photo/file)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) The Bears for Leadership Reform group, formed following Baylor’s sexual assault scandal, has been noticeably quiet over the last several weeks and KWTX has learned that’s because the reform group has agreed to give new university leadership time to make the changes they’ve been demanding.

“BLR plans to give the new chair and executive committee of the (Baylor Board of Regents) and the new president an opportunity to provide the leadership, transparency and accountability which BLR has supported,” a source within the group’s leadership told KWTX.

“BLR will support positive developments which BLR hopes to see this fall semester and alert to express failures to meet those goals. “

The group has not made a social media post to its more than 15,000 followers since July 7 and KWTX has learned that’s because BLR leadership met on July 11 personally with the new Baylor board chairman as well as the new university president and wants to give them time to do what they say they will.

“BLR is aware that with the pending implementation of the (105 recommendations from the Pepper Hamilton law firm) and discovery beginning in the sexual assault litigation that there is much to monitor. BLR has expressed this strategy and goals in personal meetings with board Chairman (Joel) Allison and President (Linda) Livingstone. The BLR Directors who have met with Allison and Livingstone are optimistic about this new leadership providing progress toward BLR's goals of transparency, accountability and reform.”

Livingstone told KWTX she’s encouraged by the meetings held between the groups at odds for months now and is hopeful trust can be restored.

“Both Chairman Allison and I have been encouraged by the discussions we’ve had with many individuals and groups throughout the Baylor Family. We understand that restoring trust takes time. We are committed to learning from our past and to communicating openly as we move forward in restoring trust and bringing unity to the Baylor Family.”

Meanwhile one of the most outspoken members of the BLR, former Texas Governor Mark White, died on Saturday after suffering a massive heart attack in Houston.

The 1965 Baylor Law school graduate became the star of the group’s largest press conference in December held at the Texas Ranger Museum, demanding change in leadership and board structure at Baylor.

The reform group issued this statement late Monday afternoon.

“All of us at Bears for Leadership Reform are profoundly saddened to learn about Governor Mark White’s death over the weekend. Our friend and colleague was the personification of integrity, commitment and the pursuit of excellence, especially in academics. We will miss his forceful presence and his eloquence with words such as, ‘If you mess up, you have to fess up.’”

The BLR went on to say they will honor White’s legacy by continuing to make sure changes at Baylor are made.

“He was certainly influential in our work to encourage the Baylor Board of Regents to be more transparent, accountable and install a better system of governance at the university. We will continue Mark White’s calls to action to implement solid and substantive change that works in a positive way for Baylor. That, hopefully, will result in yet another success and tribute to a great man.”