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Q&A Transcript from Bears for Leadership Reform Meeting

November 10, 2016

WACO, Texas   Many prominent Baylor donors and alumni, including Drayton McLane and John Eddie Williams, spoke to fellow supporters of the University on Thursday morning at the Texas Rangers Museum in Waco.  The group, which calls themselves Bears for Leadership Reform, addressed their concern of how the current Board of Regents handling recent issues, and expressed the need for a new vision for change among the leadership.

After opening statements were made by a large variety of representatives of the group, members of the press in attendance were allowed to ask questions regarding what the group's objectives are moving forward among other things.

Below is the transcript of the question and answer session:

Does Bears for Leadership Reform want this Board of Regents out?
Williams: "There’s some good people on that board, but there’s been some bad decisions. So we demand and ask, and I think are entitled to — we as alumni, and students and faculty — tell us all the facts. Tell us the truth. We’ve got to know the facts in order to make a lot of those decisions. There may be people who need to be removed, but we don’t need to have secrecy. We can handle the truth and we can handle governance in open public. They don’t have to pledge to each other to keep things secret."

The self-perpetuating board was put in place to prevent denominational pressures. Should that be changed now?
Williams: "The answer is we need to study how it is done, but whatever we are doing now, we wouldn’t be here if it worked. And we need to know the facts in order to know what the problems are in order to recommend the changes. If y’all know the facts, please share them with me, but there has been to much hidden from us. Too much coverup. Too much secrecy. That’s not the way to run things and that’s why we’re here."

Do you believe as a group that the Pepper Hamilton is only a verbal report? Do you believe the board is lying on key issues?
Williams: "I’m not here to accuse anybody of lying. I’m here to accuse people to concealing the facts and hiding the facts. And when I get the facts then I will make a determination if somebody has lied to me. But give me the facts, we deserve the facts.

"Our focus is not on athletics, and our focus is not on the football coach. That may be a symptom of the problem, but we don’t know. The problem goes — the buck stops with the board. It goes all the way to the top, and that’s where our focus is at the very top at the board."

Would this group like to see the reinstatement of Art Briles?
Williams: "I’m going to  tell you that I found him a man of great integrity, but I don’t want to get off on the wrong focus here. Our focus is at the leadership of the board level. And that’s where we really need to focus.  I’ll let you talk individually to people if they want to talk about that question."

Drayton McLane on the University Presidential search…
McLane: "They asked me to serve on the search committee. I’m not the chairman, but we’ve had one meeting and will have another one in a few days. But that’s a long, long process in academics. That’s not going to be an easy, quick solution of finding the president, recruiting him, getting him here and going through all the procedures that have to go through. So that’s a several month process."

Where Drayton McLane stands on the issues…
McLane: "I agree with what John Eddie and everyone has been saying. We need to determine what are the real facts. I think the real issue is were the right decisions made by the board."

Are donors willing to withhold money to put pressure on the board?
Williams: "I’ll let individuals answer that question because that is an individual question. I will always find ways to help Baylor. I am committed to Baylor. But the board took some swipes at us the other day talked about “fat-cat donors.” Well, I’m fat and a donor, but I’m not a cat. So seriously, why would the board do anything to offend people who are supporting the University, and I’m going to tell you that I’m going to do my best to create change, to change the culture, to change the leadership. Am I going to withhold money? That’s unknown right now, but I will always support Baylor and that’s important to me."

Drayton McLane on continuing to give to Baylor…
McLane: "You know, you don’t give because of an athletic program or anything specific. You give because you love Baylor University. Our responsibility as Christians that we make a contribution and leave it better than we found it. That’s our responsibility as Christians. We get perturbed with people, but we don’t get mad with people. I’ve heard the word anger. David Barron right here use to ask me — he’s a sports reporter in the Houston Chronicle — and he use to ask me something, if I was mad or angry or something. I said I don’t get mad or angry at anybody, I try to solve problems. That’s what we are here to do. We didn’t get money and then withhold it. The statement I think was made in the Wall Street Journal. This group, and John Eddie was certainly with us, a group of donors, and we didn’t threaten to withhold anything as a group. We never threatened to do that.

"And as the [former] Governor (Mark White) talked about, our family made a contribution. They needed to build a new nursing building in Dallas and so we made an initial contribution to help them achieve that. That speaks for it. We are going to move forward."

A time frame for moving forward after this issues has drawn out so long…
Williams: "Well I’m an impatient person and I would like to see change start immediately. The sooner the better. Putting things off may have been a root cause of all of our problems. Think about that one. We ought to do it now, immediately.”
Discussion from...

Q&A Transcript from Bears for Leadership Reform Meeting

5,566 Views | 4 Replies | Last: 5 yr ago by BigSABear
Brian Ethridge
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Thanks Colt
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Was that the whole meeting? Seems rather brief.
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Thanks for the transcript Colt. It sounds like we finally have some people who want to do things the right way.
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