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Texas Baptists Cut $1M From Baylor U. Funding

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  • Baylor University
    (Photo: Baylor Photography)
    Baylor University in Waco, Texas, is seen here in this undated photo.
By Michael Gryboski, Christian Post Reporter
October 26, 2011|3:15 pm

Due to a vote taken at the Baptist General Convention of Texas on Tuesday, Baylor University will lose nearly $1 million of its funding.

The vote, which was part of the annual meeting of the BGCT, reduces the amount of funds from $2.8 million given this year by the convention to $1.9 million.

“Of course, we are disappointed in this action by the BGCT, particularly given Baylor’s strong tradition of support for Texas Baptist students and programs, including George W. Truett Theological Seminary,” said Lori W. Fogleman, director of Communications for Baylor, to The Christian Post.

“We are appreciative of those who spoke so positively at the convention about Baylor’s impact not only on Texas Baptist life but to the work of God in the world.”

Though disappointed with the decision by the BGCT, Fogleman observed that the cuts seemed to be limited to Baylor rather than being across the board.

“We understand that cuts in funding were limited to Baylor and that many higher education institutions supported by the BGCT actually saw their budgets increased,” said Fogleman.

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“We are grateful that none of our fellow Texas Baptist institutions will be negatively impacted by the budget which was adopted today by the BGCT.”

BGCT Associate Executive Director Steve Vernon told The Christian Post the new funding reflects “fairness” regarding how Baylor was treated compared to other institutions.

“A study over a year and a half led to a reconsideration of how all the education institutions of the BGCT were funded. The goals were to create an environment where institutions relating to the BGCT were treated the same way,” said Vernon to CP.

The funding cut reflected this equalizing of all the relations that various institutions have with the BGCT. Vernon did not believe the cut was significant.

“The amount of the change in funding to Baylor represented less than a quarter of 1 percent of the budget of Baylor,” said Vernon.

Under the new budget agreement, "affiliated" education institutions receive general funding, funding for scholarships and additional money per enrolled student. Meanwhile, institutions that relate to the BGCT through a special agreement, such as Baylor, only receive general funding and funding for scholarships.

Baylor University is a private Baptist university founded in 1845 and has more than 14,000 students enrolled in more than 150 different fields of study. The institution has become increasingly diverse with the majority of the student body being non-Baptist.

The school has made some changes in its bylaws in recent years to accommodate that diversity, including a vote earlier this year to allow non-Baptists to comprise up to a quarter of the Board of Regents. Such changes have caused some tension between the school and the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

According to the new agreement approved by the convention on Tuesday, nominees to serve on Baylor’s board must go through the convention’s approval process, but the school has the right to reject nominees with good cause.

The Baptist General Convention of Texas is holding its annual meeting at the Amarillo Civic Center. The theme for this year’s conference, which ends Wednesday, is “Igniting Hope.”

 

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