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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Baylor U. Students Hang A Noose, Light a Fire

The Baylor Lariat has produced this statement from Baylor University Interim President David Garland. Read below or click here.

Baylor police reported today on three disturbing incidents that occurred on our campus yesterday.

Late Tuesday afternoon we were notified of a single clothesline rope that had been seen in a tree on campus. The individuals who discovered it believed it had the appearance of a noose. Baylor police are now in possession of the rope and continue to speak with students who observed the rope in the tree and are gathering additional information about the origin of the rope.

Last evening, police investigated a small fire in a barbecue pit adjacent to Brooks Flats in which it was alleged several Obama/Biden campaign signs had been burned.

Finally, police were called late last evening to a disturbance outside Penland Hall, where a shouting match had occurred between two small groups of white and African-American students.

These events are deeply disturbing to us and are antithetical to the mission of Baylor University. We categorically denounce and will not tolerate racist acts of any kind on our campus.

Further, we are committed to maintaining the safety and unity of our campus community. We wish to celebrate and strengthen inclusiveness, understanding and acceptance of all members of the Baylor family.

As they have thus far, Baylor police will respond quickly and decisively to any additional situations of this nature. Faculty, staff and students with information pertaining to any of the incidents we've described are urged to contact Baylor police at 710-2222.

Baylor has specific policies regarding expectations of civility and respect on our campus. Those policies, which we endorse and enforce, can be found at http://www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php?id=39242.

Faculty, staff and students also participate in on-going weekly meetings hosted by our department of multicultural activities called "Frankly Speaking" in which issues of the day are discussed in a respectful and civil manner. The goal of "Frankly Speaking" is for participants to feel comfortable expressing their opinions and beliefs within a safe environment. The meetings are held in the Bill Daniel Student Center each Tuesday from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., and members of the Baylor community are invited to participate.

We believe that the incidents on our campus yesterday were irresponsible acts committed by a few individuals. As a community we condemn these terribly unfortunate events that do not represent the values we share as members of the Baylor family.

Not sure what to make of this statement from Baylor's Interim President. When racists go public with their racism, I prefer to hear a little tough talk - maybe the author of the statement should have mentioned somewhere along the way that Baylor's mission is a distinctly Christian mission. And Baylor University is a distinctly Christian University, an historically Baptist University. There are plenty of reasons why our Christian faith demands that such racist acts must be denounced. Such religious reasons were unfortunately noticeably absent from the statement above.

No surprise that racism is alive and well on the campus of Baylor University. Racism is alive and well on the campuses of both Christian Universities and state Universities like my alma mater, University of Georgia. One need only stroll down Greek Row in Athens on Game-Day and see all the Confederate Flags to know that deep racial divisions still exist on college campuses. Every school has their hardcore racists and every school has a larger group of racists who express their racism in much more subtle ways.

Although, in light of these three incidents, I'd say that Baylor might need to get-in-the-game and address these problems that clearly exist within the community. Not sure that a one-hour voluntary, multi-cultural roundtable discussion that most students have probably never heard of is getting the job done.

Labels:

25 Comments:

Blogger Alexis said...

Baylor should have a zero tolerance policy on this kind of behavior, and should have stated so, in addition to stating that Baylor is a Christian university.

2:25 PM

 
Blogger CB Scott said...

BDW,

This is sad. I do pray that the people of this nation will leave this kind of thing in the sewer during President Obama's tenure as president.

It is this kind of stuff we do not need today.

You know I was not in favor of Barack Obama becoming president. My reasons were based on his platform and his worldview only.

It was never about race with me. I trust you believe that to be true.

We have come a long way since white only water fountains and Jim Crow laws. I pray we can keep it that way.

President-elect Obama will be President Obama shortly.

I will honor the president. I will pray he seeks the face of God in his leadership of this nation.

I will pray for his personal safety and that of all his family as he leads this nation.

I will pray that any and all threats on him will be exposed and stopped.

I will pray for those who provide his security that they are ever ready and vigilant to protect the president,s person at all times.

cb

2:39 PM

 
Blogger texasinafrica said...

Baylor definitely needs to deal with this issue. But at least they're responding to actual racism now, unlike when I was a student and they threw a fit about satirical racism in the Rope.

5:07 PM

 
Blogger Georgia Mountain Man said...

Unfortunately, racism is alive and well everywhere, and this election seems to have bubbled it to the surface. I have seen more racist emails regarding the election than I have seen in awhile, many of them disguised, but still very obvious.

5:19 PM

 
Blogger Mel Gruver said...

While I agree with some of your statements in your entry above, I think an appropriate response of you as a member of the Baylor community should be to examine yourself as well and reflect on the things that you can do to better the cold campus climate towards students of color at Baylor.
I have heard and attended Frankly Speaking and while I do not think it is a solution to racism I do agree with its inclusion in the president's statement because it is an alternative way for students to discuss pluralistic views with civility and dignity.

I am impressed with the efforts of individual administrators towards a more inclusive campus but until students -both individually and collectively- take ownership of their community and contributions towards inclusion and celebration of differences, Baylor will continue to be the same Baylor that it has always been. But hey, a lot of people would be just fine with that.

12:12 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Baylor Newspaper Opposes Scripture on Issue of Marriage:
Passage of Proposition 8 continues marginalization
Nov. 5, 2008
Proposition 8 was just passed in California, effectively banning gay marriage in the state. The amendment was the result of tireless efforts on the part of evangelical groups.

Preachers from all over the country moved to California to join in the effort, calling people to fast and pray. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said of the passage of the measure, "It's more important than the presidential election."

So much energy expended, so much idealism for a cause would be commendable if it weren't in the interest of hate and oppression. It is disturbing that so many would rally together to ensure that so many others stay marginalized, others whose only indiscretion is to love someone of the same gender.

For a short time, California, Maryland and Connecticut all recognized same-sex marriages as legal. Why is this a sign of the end of times for the Christian right? Imagine a scenario in which gays could marry across the country: it would be just like now, but gay couples that live together anyway would now have property and visitation rights like straight couples. They could call themselves wives or husbands. That's it. Straight marriages would remain just as "sacred" as we make them.

The same sort of rhetoric used to bar gays from marrying was used in the 1950's in support of anti-miscegenation laws: it was implied that the ability of races to intermarry threatened the sanctity of normal (straight, white, Christian) marriages.

That mentality is seen as bigoted and outdated now, as this current debate will be seen in, at most, a few decades. Proposition 8 in California is a temporary setback in an inevitable movement toward inclusiveness.

Always instep with the Christian right, Baylor remains embarrassingly behind in its perception of gay rights. Baylor's sexual misconduct policy calls human sexuality a "gift from the creator God" to be enjoyed through "heterosexual relationships within marriage." Misuses of this gift include "sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual assault, incest, adultery, fornication and homosexual acts."

It is wrong to list rape and abuse in the same sentence with consensual sex between adults. That is a stinging, personal affront to the gay community.

In 2005, Baylor kicked alumnus Tim Smith off the business school advisory board for refusing to deny his sexuality. He had personally donated $65,000 to Baylor and raised $60,000 more for a scholarship fund. He had an MBA from Harvard. Apparently it was his private life and not his loyalty or qualification for the job that mattered.

This is an outrage that is, frankly, a joke at other universities. At any public university, he could sue for discrimination. Baylor ought to remember that just because it can legally do something doesn't mean it should. If an act is questionably legal at all, shouldn't we examine whether it should be done?

In March of 2007, members of Soulforce, a Christian gay rights activist group, were arrested on campus in front of Waco Hall for chalking Bible quotes that support their message of tolerance and equality. As I watched them lead away in handcuffs, I cried with admiration of their stoicism. I was furious, and couldn't imagine being led away peacefully. I also cried with disgust at the ignorant and mean-spirited behavior of institution that purports to be of higher learning.

How can Baylor expect to compete in a new century with regressive ideas of segregation based on identity? It can't, and unless some things change, it will become increasingly more embarrassing to identify oneself as an alumnus. I don't want to be thought of as a close-minded bigot.

Baylor does nothing to foster an atmosphere of tolerance. Even in the most inviting of environments on campus, ignorant or judgmental comments can be heard. Students can hardly be blamed for their ignorance. In denying gays and lesbians the right to have a recognized group on campus (like at any other university), Baylor legitimizes notions that gays and lesbians are secondary persons, or worse, that homosexuality is a choice or some sort or mental illness.

That this oppression happens in the name of a "god of love" is the biggest insult and biggest joke of all.

Jade Ortego is a senior journalism major from Sweeny and is a staff writer for The Baylor Lariat.


More News ...

6:03 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Baylor Newspaper Opposes Scripture on Issue of Marriage:
Passage of Proposition 8 continues marginalization
Nov. 5, 2008
Proposition 8 was just passed in California, effectively banning gay marriage in the state. The amendment was the result of tireless efforts on the part of evangelical groups.

Preachers from all over the country moved to California to join in the effort, calling people to fast and pray. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said of the passage of the measure, "It's more important than the presidential election."

So much energy expended, so much idealism for a cause would be commendable if it weren't in the interest of hate and oppression. It is disturbing that so many would rally together to ensure that so many others stay marginalized, others whose only indiscretion is to love someone of the same gender.

For a short time, California, Maryland and Connecticut all recognized same-sex marriages as legal. Why is this a sign of the end of times for the Christian right? Imagine a scenario in which gays could marry across the country: it would be just like now, but gay couples that live together anyway would now have property and visitation rights like straight couples. They could call themselves wives or husbands. That's it. Straight marriages would remain just as "sacred" as we make them.

The same sort of rhetoric used to bar gays from marrying was used in the 1950's in support of anti-miscegenation laws: it was implied that the ability of races to intermarry threatened the sanctity of normal (straight, white, Christian) marriages.

That mentality is seen as bigoted and outdated now, as this current debate will be seen in, at most, a few decades. Proposition 8 in California is a temporary setback in an inevitable movement toward inclusiveness.

Always instep with the Christian right, Baylor remains embarrassingly behind in its perception of gay rights. Baylor's sexual misconduct policy calls human sexuality a "gift from the creator God" to be enjoyed through "heterosexual relationships within marriage." Misuses of this gift include "sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual assault, incest, adultery, fornication and homosexual acts."

It is wrong to list rape and abuse in the same sentence with consensual sex between adults. That is a stinging, personal affront to the gay community.

In 2005, Baylor kicked alumnus Tim Smith off the business school advisory board for refusing to deny his sexuality. He had personally donated $65,000 to Baylor and raised $60,000 more for a scholarship fund. He had an MBA from Harvard. Apparently it was his private life and not his loyalty or qualification for the job that mattered.

This is an outrage that is, frankly, a joke at other universities. At any public university, he could sue for discrimination. Baylor ought to remember that just because it can legally do something doesn't mean it should. If an act is questionably legal at all, shouldn't we examine whether it should be done?

In March of 2007, members of Soulforce, a Christian gay rights activist group, were arrested on campus in front of Waco Hall for chalking Bible quotes that support their message of tolerance and equality. As I watched them lead away in handcuffs, I cried with admiration of their stoicism. I was furious, and couldn't imagine being led away peacefully. I also cried with disgust at the ignorant and mean-spirited behavior of institution that purports to be of higher learning.

How can Baylor expect to compete in a new century with regressive ideas of segregation based on identity? It can't, and unless some things change, it will become increasingly more embarrassing to identify oneself as an alumnus. I don't want to be thought of as a close-minded bigot.

Baylor does nothing to foster an atmosphere of tolerance. Even in the most inviting of environments on campus, ignorant or judgmental comments can be heard. Students can hardly be blamed for their ignorance. In denying gays and lesbians the right to have a recognized group on campus (like at any other university), Baylor legitimizes notions that gays and lesbians are secondary persons, or worse, that homosexuality is a choice or some sort or mental illness.

That this oppression happens in the name of a "god of love" is the biggest insult and biggest joke of all.

Jade Ortego is a senior journalism major from Sweeny and is a staff writer for The Baylor Lariat.


More News ...

6:30 AM

 
Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

No offense Mel, but if I believed that there was a need to "examine myself," I would. There is no need. Racists hang a noose and um, act racist. And as a result, I need to examine myself? Mel, that's just a downright offensive suggestion.

Perhaps Frankly Speaking is a good thing, a way to as you say "for students to discuss pluralistic views with civility and dignity." Whatever. I'm not sure exactly how committed to multiculturalism etc. folks at Baylor are when they schedule programs like Frankly Speaking during the Dr. Pepper Hour. Hard to compete with a long-standing tradition of the Student Union that has been going on since 1953.

How exactly do you recommend that students take "ownership of their community" ?

If you or anyone else are looking for solutions, Waco's Community Race Relations Coalition is having their annual Red, White and Blue event this weekend. You can learn more about CRRC here

7:26 AM

 
Anonymous twinkee1999 said...

I graduated from Baylor in 2003, and as an African American, the experience left much to be desired. Do these incidents (as well as the lukewarm administration response) surprise me--not at all. Many of the students/administration at Baylor live in their own little, small world passing judgement on all who do not fit. Five years later, nothing changes.

3:55 PM

 
Blogger Cat's Dad said...

Racism always stinks. It no doubt exists at or around Baylor. They should deal with it harshly.

But Baylor should also deal with its godlessness in the classroom, since Darwinism and evolution rule to the exclusion of intelligent design, much more to creationism.

Should Baylor--or we--expect evolved creatures called humans to act toward their fellow humans as if they were all created in the image of God, when the position of its Biology department is that we weren't?

Alexis and others, why should Baylor call itself a Christian university when its Biology department doesn't teach that Christ, or even an intelligent "force," created the world?

10:05 AM

 
Blogger Alexis said...

Cat's Dad-

I was an Environmental Science major at Baylor, and in all of my classes there was never an anti-God message. In my science classes, everything we learned was in the context of creation. That doesn't mean that a creation story of the earth being created in 7 24 hour days is taught as science, but God is an incredibly integral part of the courses. You are incorrect in stating that Baylor is not a Christian university.

1:44 PM

 
Blogger Cat's Dad said...

From its website's "Statement on Evolution at http://www.baylor.edu/biology/index.php?id=27622

"Evolution, a foundational principle of modern biology, is supported by overwhelming scientific evidence and is accepted by the vast majority of scientists. Because it is fundamental to the understanding of modern biology, the faculty in the Biology Department at Baylor University, Waco, TX, teach evolution throughout the biology curriculum. We are in accordance with the American Association for Advancement of Science's statement on evolution. We are a science department, so we do not teach alternative hypotheses or philosophically deduced theories that cannot be tested rigorously."

Alexis, even intelligent design is to Baylor's Biology department an "alternative hypothesis" or a "philosophically deduced theory."

It seems a Christian university would or should, throughout its schools, remember that "without faith, it is impossible to please God" and perhaps hold forth the Bible as Truth, even "that cannot be tested rigorously."

3:32 PM

 
Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

Dude,

Maybe Baylor as a Christian University should allow the Science Department to teach Science, allow the Religion Department to teach Religion, and allow the Philosophy Department to teach Philosophy.

Last I checked, all Baylor students are required to take a Scriptures course. They still teach Genesis. But don't expect the Science Department to teach Genesis.

Evangelical historian Mark Knoll says that the Scandal of the Evangelical Mind is that They Have No Mind. Fundamentalism by definition can not reconcile faith with science. That's unfortunate. Most other Christian groups have found ways to reconcile their Christian faith with scientific theories like evolution. Theistic evolution anyone?

9:00 PM

 
Blogger Cat's Dad said...

Theistic evolution? Maybe so, but Baylor Biology's idea would have to be that the theistic designer is unintelligent.

Is that where you stand, BDW? That God is unintelligent?

Probably not, so just acknowledge that Baylor needs to right its conflicted ship and whip some humanistic profs/departments into shape.

10:05 PM

 
Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

Science operates under the scientific method. Until so-called "theories of intelligent design" can pass scientific scrutiny (scientific method), it shouldn't be taught in a SCIENCE classroom. Teach Intelligent Design in the philosophy department but not as science.

I don't need a biology professor to TELL ME that God is the designer of the universe. That's what faith is for...

3:45 PM

 
Blogger Cat's Dad said...

I see. God isn't god when it comes to science. Scientific method is greater than He.

You sound conflicted, man.

9:44 PM

 
OpenID dunningrb said...

No, the scientific method is not greater than God. But it is greater than fundamentalists who have chosen to read Genesis as a literal account of how the world was created.

This isn't about science vs. God, cat's dad. It's about science vs. you.

--
Rodney Dunning

5:01 AM

 
Blogger Cat's Dad said...

Hi Rodney, old fiend, oops, friend.

So, you and BDW, let me be sure I understand what you intellectual elites are saying:

A Christian university is distinct from a secular or state university even when they both say there was no intelligent cause behind the beginning of the planet and life as we know it. Cool, so how did the God, or god, the Philosophy school talks about ever come about?

If you still don't recognize the inconsistent and conflicted result of this con-creation, convoluted conundrum, then I've heard of Greek mindsets, but would have to term yours' mind-less sets.

7:11 AM

 
Anonymous Karen G said...

Do you think that people recognize racism in themselves?

12:35 PM

 
Blogger texasinafrica said...

Excellent point about the departments teaching one anothers' subjects, BDW! Personally, I'd like to delve into teaching cosmology, what with my total lack of training in the field and inability to do advanced math.

6:58 PM

 
Blogger Athena said...

The idea that Baylor, of all places, has the integrity, the courage, or the intellectual rigor--never mind the spiritual maturity--to pursue or profit from any kind of institution-wide examination/discussion of the issue of racism is absolutely laughable. If I thought my kid wanted to waste his opportunity for a university education at Baylor, I'd despair of the future. I've never seen a more insular, socially, intellectually and ecclesiologically inbred and insensate group of people in my life. God save my child from ever darkening the door of Baylor.

12:48 PM

 
Blogger Cat's Dad said...

Rodney,

". . . the scientific method is not greater than God. But it is greater than fundamentalists who have chosen to read Genesis as a literal account of how the world was created."

Your comment, meant to scold and belittle me, violates Baylor's statement on evolution.

You said the "world was created." Baylor won't even acknowledge the world was intelligently designed!

I don't care if you're a fundamentalist who takes a literal view of Genesis' creation account or a liberal who illiterately views it--Baylor's Biology department ignores it. It's totally out of step with a liberal or fundamental Christian world-view.

6:52 AM

 
OpenID dunningrb said...

This thread is supposed to be about race relations at Baylor. You come along, attempt to turn it into a debate about evolution, and then complain about being "scolded."

Here's something that really is meant to scold you:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)

As for Baylor's position on ID, I couldn't care less. If it bothers you so much, why don't you contact the biology faculty directly and complain about it? You can navigate from the following link to find their email addresses:

http://www.baylor.edu/biology/index.php?id=14907

8:44 AM

 
Blogger Cat's Dad said...

Rodney,

If you couldn't care less, and apparently know even less than you care, why say anything?

11:51 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think racism coming from any party is wrong. Funny though, it's really only considered racist if a white person does it.

5:50 AM

 

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