Nearly 50% of the nearly 1,500 members of the Baylor family who responded to a Baylor Line Foundation (BLF) survey conducted in early November said they are less likely to donate to the university in light of recent events.
More than 90% of the respondents also called for greater transparency from Baylor leaders on a variety of topics.
In addition, a large number of respondents said they were “less likely” or “much less likely” to show support for the school in a variety of areas including promoting the university’s reputation (48%), advocating prospective students attend Baylor (42%), returning to campus for major events (38%), and urging their own children or grandchildren to attend Baylor (35%), particularly when they take rising tuition costs into account (50.4%).
The survey was not scientific (i.e., the respondents are not necessarily a representative sample of our full membership) but we distributed a link to our e-mail list and posted it on our social media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter). The survey was set up so that the respondent could only fill out the survey once from his or her computer or mobile device.
Of the 1,465 respondents, two-thirds said they were active (Life or current Annual) members of the foundation. The remaining third of the respondents were equally split between lapsed members and non-members (never been members).
“We shared these results with the BLF directors over the weekend and I think it’s fair to say that they were staggered by them,” said BLF President Fred Norton Jr. ’80, JD ’83. “We are seeing a growing number of comments – both in the survey and our other social platforms – that indicate people see a need for a greater ‘moral compass’ from our leaders that seemed to be far more present in what feels like the distant past.”
Allen Holt, the foundation’s new executive vice president, said “We all agreed that it’s particularly important to focus our efforts on reminding our members that Baylor is much more than the current situation. We will continue to tell the stories of Baylor’s great alumni and to advocate for greater transparency by our leaders. There’s nothing more important right now than for Baylor to get back on track, and we’re going to do that by returning to the timeless values of the university’s founders.”
We are still going through the more than 4,300 comments from the survey and although we closed down the survey earlier today, we wanted to let you know what we’ve found after two weeks of responses:
- Ninety four percent (94%) said they agree that the “independent voice” that the BLF (and Baylor Alumni Association before it) has “fought to protect includes the responsibility to raise important questions about the university’s direction and future in a responsible manner.”
- 91% said the Baylor Line Foundation should continue to call for greater transparency by the Board of Regents and senior leadership of the university.
- Nearly 90% of the respondents felt that the university should be “more forthright about disclosing what specific concerns that Pepper Hamilton had about the Board of Regents’ role in how the university responded to complaints.”
- When asked whether the BLF should continue to advocate for Baylor to ask Pepper Hamilton to create a publish a written report on its investigation, 60% said yes and that it should be done on an accelerated timeline (within one to three months) and an additional 15.5% said yes, but on whatever timetable is needed. Nearly one-fourth of the respondents said, “no, we’ve learned enough.”
- Asked how active – on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being extremely active — the BLF should be in advocating for a change in Baylor’s governance structure, current board makeup, and future selection process of Regents, 53.1% said “10” and the weighted average was 8.26 out of 10.
- When asked if they will be likely to consider year-end donations to Baylor, 47.8% said “no, I’m looking elsewhere” and 44% said “no, but I’m considering a donation to the BLF.” It should be noted that we did not ask if the respondent had donated to Baylor in the past.
Forty two percent (42.3%) of the respondents said they graduated before 1980, and another 41.2% said they graduated between 1980 and 1999.
What do you think? Are these results consistent with what you are hearing when you talk to other members of the Baylor family, and when those who did not attend Baylor ask you about what’s going on here? Please use the Comments to weigh in.