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BAA makes final settlement offer to Baylor in hopes of resolving lawsuit

BAA makes final settlement offer to Baylor in hopes of resolving lawsuit

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The Baylor Alumni Association is pitching a final settlement offer to Baylor University’s board of regents in hopes of resolving pending litigation between the group and the university.

The BAA’s board of directors Saturday approved making the offer to Baylor, though the group’s president, Keith Starr, declined to discuss the terms of the proposed settlement.

“I want the university and their lawyers to be able to have the same deliberative process that we had in arriving at this proposal in the hopes that it will pass,” Starr said. “In terms of the details, I’m just going to let the lawyers handle this.”

Starr said the announcement is meant to signal to BAA members and Baylor that the group still is actively working toward achieving a harmonious relationship with the university.

“We’re going to take one last chance at peace, that’s what we’re doing,” Starr said.

Starr, who is not related to Baylor President Ken Starr, said the terms are different from conditions discussed by the BAA and regents this summer as the two sides sought a resolution to avoid going to court.

Baylor sued the alumni association in June to stop the group from using the university’s name and registered marks and is seeking to bar the group from continuing its alumni outreach activities.

Baylor moved to terminate its licensing rights with the BAA last fall after an attempt to merge the group’s operations with Baylor’s own alumni network activities failed to gain sufficient support from BAA members.

After those negotiations this summer failed to produce a resolution, the BAA filed a counterclaim last month seeking a judgment ordering Baylor to continue upholding its obligations under the official recognition agreement that established the association as the university’s official alumni organization.

The BAA also wants a ruling preventing the university from continuing with its Baylor Alumni Network, which BAA leaders have said was created in 2002 to thwart the alumni association’s activities.

Starr said the BAA’s attorneys have not yet sent the settlement terms to Baylor leaders, though he expects that will happen later this week. He did not know the deadline for Baylor to respond to the offer.

Starr said if the regents approve the settlement as written, it will be sent to the BAA’s full membership for a vote to go into effect. If the regents reject the offer, Starr said the BAA is prepared to continue with the litigation.

Baylor spokeswoman Lori Fogleman said in a statement that the university was not aware of any terms of the proposed settlement.

“There is no question that Baylor is firing on every cylinder, and alumni worldwide are coming alongside the university in record numbers and in a multitude of ways to help fuel the upward trajectory of their alma mater,” Fogleman said. “We look forward to receiving the proposal, and we hope that it reflects the sentiment of the majority of Baylor alumni who are actively partnering with the university in this period of unparalleled progress.”

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Baylor University and the Baylor Alumni Association announced Tuesday that they have agreed to settle their bitter, long-standing legal battle symbolized by the wrecking ball Baylor took to the BAA’s campus headquarters.

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