Baylor, alumni group remain at odds

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Associated Press

Posted on December 24, 2013 at 8:32 AM

WACO, Texas (AP) — Baylor University and an independent alumni association remain at odds over what role the group should play, a disagreement that has resulted in the organization being locked out of its campus offices.

The lockout came a day after a Dec. 8 deadline in which the Central Texas university demanded that the Baylor Alumni Association stop using the school's name and trademarks, group Chief Operating Officer Chad Wooten told the Waco Tribune-Herald (http://bit.ly/1ieIouV ).

Baylor issued a letter on May 31 notifying the association of its intentions to end existing licensing agreements with the group beginning Sept. 8 if an agreement to transfer alumni outreach activities to the university was not approved. The association failed to do so.

"I can't say we were surprised," alumni association president George Cowden III said of being locked out of the group's offices. "I guess I thought we might be able to continue to be able to be there, but that's OK."

The alumni association has relocated to a new office in downtown Waco.

Baylor spokeswoman Lori Fogleman would not comment on whether the world's largest Baptist university would take additional action against the association, including litigation to stop the group's use of the Baylor name.

"We've been very clear on our deadlines and the terms of our licensing agreement," Fogleman said. "Nothing should come as a surprise."

Cowden said his organization will continue operating as it has been — as the university's alumni association — until members vote otherwise.

The group is considering different options for the future, including changing its name but forging ahead with alumni activities and changing its mission and becoming a foundation that would possibly raise money for scholarships, according to Wooten.

Fogleman declined to comment on whether Baylor would still be open to further discussions with the alumni association on its future direction. She said the university will move forward in implementing various alumni outreach programs under its Baylor Alumni Network.

"We remain hopeful regarding the ultimate resolution by the association to move forward in a positive way on behalf of Baylor and all of its alumni," Fogleman said.

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Information from: Waco Tribune-Herald, http://www.wacotrib.com

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