According to an HBU news release, "The move is designed to help HBU -- the only evangelical university in the city of Houston -- reach out to committed Christians of many denominations in the diverse city by providing them a voice on its governing board."
HBU President Robert Sloan was quoted in the news release as stating, "As our nation's fourth-largest city, Houston is enormously diverse, but at the same time, it also has a rich Christian witness. Cooperating in this way with the broad Christian community in the region is absolutely vital to fulfilling the University's mission."
Houston Baptist University is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. The BGCT provides HBU with funding and elects one-fourth of its trustee board. The university also has a fraternal relationship with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention that does not entail SBTC funding or involvement in HBU's governance. Apart from the BGCT contingent on the board, trustees elect three-fourths of the other board members.
HBU's proposed bylaws change was voted down last November by messengers to the BGCT annual meeting. However, BGCT associate executive director Steve Vernon informed the convention's executive board in an e-mail that HBU "did not and does not need the permission of the BGCT to take this step," the BGCT's Baptist Standard reported. "HBU went through this process as a matter of courtesy and as a way of discussion of the issue," Vernon wrote.
HBU's bylaws change, effective March 10, follows a similar move by Baylor University regents in February, according to the Standard.
Compiled by Baptist Press staff.
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