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Uprising brews among members of the Baylor Nation

This social media message appeared on Wednesday.
This social media message appeared on Wednesday.(KWTX)
Published: Nov. 3, 2016 at 5:05 PM CDT
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Amid the controversy over how the Baylor Board of Regents handed the sexual assault scandal at Baylor that led to the firing of head football coach Art Briles, reassignment of Chancellor and President Ken Starr and suspension of athletic director Ian McCaw, an effort is underway to restructure the university’s Board of Regents, KWTX has learned.

On Wednesday, a message on social media began to circulate that says “Baylor Nation Please Join us Thursday, November 10 at 10:00 am at Texas Ranger Museum at Knox Hall.”

The post included no additional information, but KWTX has learned a newly formed nonprofit organization called “Bears for Leadership Reform” has been created in an effort to restructure the embattled Baylor Board of Regents.

Organizers of the effort have been quietly meeting for months as a group and with lawyers to figure out legal avenues to change the governance at Baylor University.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars has been spent on the effort, the purpose of which is to give alumni upset by what’s happened a way to get involved, sources with knowledge of the group said.

The group includes "not only alumni, but also students, faculty, members of the Baptist church, and advocates for victims of domestic violence or sexual assault" the sources said.

A board of directors will oversee the group’s effort.

KWTX has learned that the group was formed because of a number of concerns including a perceived lack of transparency on the part of university regents.

The group also has questions about how the sexual assault allegations were handled at Baylor, the fairness of the Pepper Hamilton review of the handling of the allegations, how the university is addressing the current concerns and if the right people were held accountable by the board.

Briles and Starr have reached settlements with the university.

McCaw has resigned, but remains on the Baylor payroll, although he’s no longer working.

Sources say they expect the group to make details of the event and plans public sometime Monday.

Former Texas Gov. Mark White, a Baylor graduate, will be part of the event on Nov. 10.

The Baylor Board of Regents has 34 voting members, but two positions are vacant because of the recent resignations of Kathy Wills Wright and Christopher Howard.

Three of the voting members fill alumni-elected positions on the board, which were created as the result of a settlement agreement in a lawsuit that Baylor filed against the Baylor Alumni Association, which is now called the Baylor Line Foundation.

The first three, Dan Chapman, Wayne Fisher and Julie Turner, were appointed jointly by the Baylor Line Foundation and the board of regents.

As their initial terms expire, all alumni will vote to either reelect them or elect a different regent to those seats.

Of the remaining 31, 25 percent are technically appointed by the Baptist General Convention of Texas, but the current board controls that process and can veto any BGCT appointee.

The other 75 percent are appointed by the board itself.

There are also non-voting student, faculty and B Association representatives on the board who serve one-year terms.

The board also approves their appointments.