Brownwood will soon be home to two universities, as Howard Payne and Daniel Baker have mutually agreed to call off their relationship of 62 years, citing irreconcilable differences. The Examiner visited the HPU campus on Wednesday to ask the students what they thought. Well, we forgot it was summertime. We were able to ask the janitor a few questions though.
Harry Ledderman, 53, stated “Firstly, the Bible says gay marriage is wrong, but we allowed a Daniel and a Howard to form a civil union? It’s simply preposterous and far from theologically sound.’ Ledderman asked not to be named in this report.
Samuel Jefferson, new acting President of Daniel Baker College, was more than happy to talk to the Examiner about his plans for the school at a local cafe.
“Well, I can’t say anything on the record, so keep this between us, but we’ve entered the final phases of negotiations with a gentleman in Virginia who owns what was once the Sid Rich building, the Brownwood Hotel before that. I doubt Howard Payne would give us back our former campus, I mean hell, they already tore down our old Theater building back in the early 2000s.”
Jefferson went on to explain the master concept for Daniel Baker College. Each floor of the 12 story building will feature one subject. This way, students won’t have to go far to get an education. Jefferson wants to cut down on the carbon footprint and have the building LEED certified. Floor 1 will be a general lobby and gathering area for students, with sofas and quiet study rooms alike. Food will be served as well. Floor 2 is envisioned to be a partnership with Texas State Technical College (TSTC), where students can learn the art of asbestos abatement. Students will get hands-on experience while the building is being renovated.
The rooftop chapel is also sure to please, with loudspeakers being installed so the “good word” can be heard all over town. Jefferson cited visits to Saudi Arabia while working in the Foreign Service as an inspiration. “They call them minarets there, and every few hours during the day you can hear the sound of prayer all around town. I think Brownwood would benefit from this. When I was younger, the church bells would ring out every day at noon and 5, and now I guess nobody rings them anymore.” The secular-minded students won’t be forgotten though. “The Baptists wouldn’t have put the ballroom to good use anyhow.” said Jefferson, as he laughed nervously and took one last sip of coffee before excusing himself.
We then spoke to a few other members of the community who support Daniel Baker. One commonly cited reason for the split is a differing philosophy in athletics. While Howard Payne has a successful women’s basketball team and an improving football program, the Baker supporters feel that they just aren’t putting forth enough effort. Daniel Baker hopes to join Division-1 football and reignite the glory days when they once played Texas A&M, The University of Texas, and Southern Methodist. During the 1915 season, Daniel Baker helped set records for both the Longhorns and Aggies, losing 92-0 and 110-0 respectively.
The Howard Payne supporters soon noticed the commotion and came over to put in their two cents. Howard Payne supporters cite long-standing administrative favoritism towards the former DBC campus. Roland Harrison, HPU alumni, spoke with us.
“They got a 5-star American general to come to town, but some of our dorms look like they were made in the Soviet Union. Especially Jennings Hall. It looks like it came from Chernobyl!”
He continued “…We spent money to put a new roof on what is now the Academy of Freedom TWICE since absorbing the school, and we have to contract with City and Rural Rides to use a shuttle. It’s a substantial cost, and the State of Texas has cut CARR funding by $1mil so we might have to swallow the increased rates. Our students pay such high tuition that they cannot afford to drive .67 miles across town to the satellite campus.”Past history and sectarianism still divides the two schools. The Baptists think that sprinkling water on babies is not the same as dunking them underwater, but the Presbyterians think dunking children is cruel and ungodly. HPU supporters question the cause of the fire at Old Main, and wonder why it couldn’t have been at the (former) DBC campus instead. Meanwhile DBC supporters say that they didn’t receive any insurance money from the fire and “if HPU would have used as much quality asbestos as our new campus did, they wouldn’t still be griping about Old Main burning.”