New contract offers access, accountability and cooperation
BAA Board votes to secure future for The Baylor Line; accedes other alumni activities to university; Saturday vote scheduled for membership
(Waco, September 5, 2013) — Preparations are underway for a vote Saturday that could end a ten-year battle that has been waged between Baylor University and the Baylor Alumni Association. A positive vote would assure, for 10 years and a renewable term, the continuance of The Baylor Line, BAA’s acclaimed magazine publication that has been the organization’s primary communications vehicle to its 17,000 members. Under the pact, BAA would accede all other traditional alumni association activities such as networking events, seminars, awards and conferences to the Baylor Alumni Network.
Since the early 2000s, the relationship between the university and the 17,000 member association has been described as tense, and some would say hostile. Negotiations have been ongoing for months to re-establish a relationship that safeguards an independent alumni voice through the BAA magazine, The Baylor Line.
“I hope that our membership can shelve emotions about how this dispute started and the resulting consequences to our organization,” said Collin Cox, president of BAA. “There is one undeniable truth in this debate: We are stronger together than we are separate.”
The vote Saturday will ask members to approve the so-called Transition Agreement and the Trademark License Agreement. These documents:
• Create a new, independent Baylor Line Corporation that will continue to publish what has been BAA’s signature publication and its primary outreach to alumni
• Establish an autonomous governing body for the magazine
• Assure the rights to use university trademarks for The Baylor Line
• Establish the right of the publication’s reporters and editors to have access to faculty, administrators and other university executives. The accessibility will be equivalent to the rights of others representing university publications
• Ensure that the newly-formed Baylor Line Corporation will have office space for its headquarters on campus
Most of the negotiations this summer focused on activities, oversight and ethical guidelines for The Baylor Line. BAA Board Member Ella Prichard of Corpus Christi organized a panel of Baylor graduates with distinguished journalism careers. The Journalism Advisory Group (JAG) provided key recommendations, best practices research on university publications as well as new updated media ethical and editorial guidelines.
The accord with the university includes publishing principles from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), for alumni publications and communications. It also outlines Editorial and Ethical Guidelines for The Baylor Line. Such tenets are imperatives for news and publishing organizations.
Cox said current BAA members are expected to be granted subscriptions to Baylor Line Corporation publications, including The Baylor Line. In addition, BAA will conduct donor surveys to determine the future use of BAA funds. He also noted that thousands of hours have been contributed during the negotiations and documentation of the License Agreement and the Transition Agreement.
“We have worked relentlessly to provide security for The Baylor Line and its campus voice,” said Cox. “With a ‘yes’ vote, it will remain a fiercely independent platform.”
Cox urged Baylor alumni to attend Saturday’s meeting and to review the documents at: http://www.baylorline.com/blog/2013/07/10/transition-legal-documents
The membership meeting will be held Saturday, September 7, at Waco Hall. Registration and membership verification, including presentation of photo identification, begins at 8:00 AM. Only current voting BAA members can cast ballots, and they must be present at Waco Hall to vote. Details on the vote can be found at: http://www.baylorline.com/blog/2013/07/07/voting-information