Baylor celebrates 100 years of Student Government
“But as we see it, self government is the inevitable trend of the progressive student life; it is a proven success beyond question in the largest and smallest schools of the country; it is not a moment fad, but a fundamental and logical principle of the American universities and American life.” — The Baylor Lariat, Oct. 22, 1914
It may be hard to imagine, but there was a time when it was uncommon for students to have self-representation at colleges and universities. In the months leading up to the Lariat quote above, campus buzzed with talk of what a Baylor student government would even look like, who would lead it, and what exactly its constitution would entail.
Earlier that month, the Lariat had issued a poll asking students’ opinions on the matter; about 90% of students were in favor of self-government. The next steps were gaining the approval of faculty and President Samuel Palmer Brooks – which wasn’t too difficult, as faculty had backed the idea since its inception.
By mid-December, students had written a functioning constitution, and on Dec. 17, 1914, the first representatives — including the first president, B.V. Ellzey (pictured above left) — were elected. The “Student Self-Governing Association” was finally founded; however, it would take a few weeks — into the new year — for the new system to really get running and for the university to officially recognize the organization.
Today, the mission of the Baylor University Student Government is to “represent the student body, with respect to our Christian commitment and the ideals of Baylor University, through shared governance, as we seek to enrich the quality of student life.” Student Body President Dominic Edwards (pictured above right) and the rest of the governing members are responsible making sure the students’ voice is heard in the university’s decision-making process.
Sic ’em, Student Government!