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Baylor University Board of Regents acknowledges University’s ties to slavery and Confederacy, passes resolution on racial healing and justice

Baylor
Posted at 3:27 PM, Jun 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-26 16:28:24-04

WACO, TX — The Baylor University Board of Regents has unanimously passed a Resolution on Racial Healing and Justice that openly acknowledges the University’s historical connections to slavery and the Confederacy.

The resolution is “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,” according to Baylor's statement.

The Board’s acknowledgement initiates a process on racial conciliation across the University and 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.”

With a mission to “educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community,” the Board stated that the University’s “Christian commitment is inconsistent with racism in any form.”

In its Resolution, the Board outlined its acknowledgement and recognition of the University’s historic connections to slavery from its chartering on Feb. 1, 1845, by the Republic of Texas, and during its first decades of operation as an institution of higher education in Independence, located in Washington County, Texas. Baylor moved from Independence to Waco, Texas, in 1886.

The Board’s Resolution acknowledged the University’s historical connections to slavery and the Confederacy, including:

  • The understanding and acknowledgment 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. These early Baptists eventually included Baylor’s three founders - Judge R.E.B. Baylor, Rev. James Huckins and Rev. William M. Tryon - most members of its initial board of trustees, and several early leaders of the institution.
  • That during Baylor’s early years, a number of University leaders and prominent individuals connected to the institution 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.

In acknowledging and recognizing its historic roots, the Board’s resolution includes:

  • The denouncement by the Board and the University of racism in all its forms as being inconsistent with Baylor’s Christian mission and the teachings of Jesus Christ,
  • The steadfast commitment of both 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.
  • The University’s 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.

The Board’s Resolution also included the establishment of the Commission on Historic Campus Representations at Baylor University, an advisory committee to "provide guidance on presenting Baylor’s history as the University continues working to foster an environment through which racial equality is inextricably linked to its mission, and in which students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of color know they are valued and loved throughout the Baylor community, both on campus and in all reaches of the Baylor Family."

The full resolution is available on the Board of Regents website.