We, the Students . . .

“We, the Students . . .” provides a platform for thoughtful reflections arising from the student body of Baylor University, and is addressed to our esteemed faculty, administrators, and regents. This blog conveys the sentiments of numerous current Baylor students and is not affiliated with nor approved by the University or any of its constituent parts.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A New Plea To Our Regents

We, the students of Baylor University, with a view toward the advancement and strengthening of our cherished alma mater, and in hope that our petitions will be taken to heart by you, our esteemed Board of Regents, whom God has seen fit to place in a position of service and trust for our well-being, offer the following plea on behalf of literally thousands upon thousands of our like-minded classmates.

We abound in love for our university and we believe that you do as well. We were quite heartened by the resolution you adopted this past July, in which you declared, first, Baylor's commitment "to recruit and hire highly qualified faculty who are committed Christians" (our emphases) and, second, the "expect[ation that] every faculty member . . . examine and consider how his or her faith impacts his or her professional life." Thank you for making it unequivocally clear that Baylor is a place where academic excellence is sought and informed by a Christian commitment that actually makes a difference.

Recent historical studies of formerly Christian universities like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Duke, and Vanderbilt have demonstrated that these institutions were led slowly and imperceptibly down the road to secularization by administrators and faculty members with deeply religious commitments who simply failed to be intentional in their integration of faith and learning. For the sake of our alma mater, we believe that Baylor can and must learn from their mistakes. Therefore, we, the students, urge our Board of Regents to select a new president who understands the vital importance of being intentional with respect to strengthening Baylor's identity as a distinctively Christian university. Any old university can strive for academic excellence, but precious few share anything like Baylor's exceptional potential to realize academic excellence while simultaneously fostering deep reflection on the academic disciplines from an unapologetically faith-informed perspective.

We refer to "Baylor's potential," as if this goal were not yet being realized; but certainly we are already beginning to achieve these goals. A December 2002 article in Christian Century about Baylor's ambitious Vision 2012 concluded thus: "One question remains: if you build a world-class university in Waco, Texas, will topflight Christian faculty come?" Contrary to the predictions of some, we now know that the answer to this question is yes. Will better and brighter students come? We now know the answer, again, is yes. Baylor's combination of academic excellence with intentional Christian commitment is its greatest and most distinctive strength.

We, the students, are convinced of the importance of a new president's being selected who appreciates the vital necessity of continuing to reaffirm and strengthen Baylor's Christian identity. We maintain the highest hopes and deepest affection for our university. We can do nothing but trust in you to make the right decisions regarding our future.

Please, show us that we are in good hands.