“Board of Regents apologizes to Baylor Nation.”
Baylor’s handling of reports of sexual abuse on campus brought media attention to the Waco university after a former football player was convicted of sexual assault in August.
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That month, Baylor hired Pepper Hamilton, an independent law firm, to review “Baylor’s institutional response to Title IX and related compliance issues through the lens of specific cases.”
The process turned into a slow, frustrating crawl as university President Ken Starr released letter after letter reassuring students, but never thoroughly addressing the problem.
An action plan was implemented in February, but it seemed like a place holder until Baylor received the results of the Pepper Hamilton review.
The report was released to the public on Thursday, nine months in the making.
The law firm found that the “institutional response” to abuse on campus was a “fundamental failure.”
The word failed appears 31 times in the 13-page document as the law firm explained its investigation in detail.
The Pepper Hamilton report made us angry. It would make anyone angry to read how much Baylor failed at adequately protecting students.
Apparently, regents read the report and became as angry as everyone else.
“We were horrified,” board Chairman Richard Willis said in the news release. “The depth to which these acts occurred shocked and outraged us. Our students and their families deserve more.”
Baylor failed, but the board succeeded in owning up to the failure and making sure Baylor will overhaul its system and mend the cracks.
“We have committed our full attention to improving our processes, establishing accountability and ensuring appropriate actions are taken to support former, current and future students,” Willis said.
The board removed Starr as president, though he will remain a law professor and perhaps chancellor.
Head football coach Art Briles was “indefinitely suspended with intent to terminate.”
These two have been at the heart of the scandal from the beginning.
Athletic Director Ian McCaw has been “sanctioned and placed on probation” and “additional members of the administration and athletics program have also been dismissed.”
Anyone who was a part of the problem seems to be taken out of the solution.
The board accepted all of Pepper Hamilton’s recommendations.
Although the board took a frustratingly long time in taking “extensive corrective action,” the results are exactly what we wanted from the university.
We wanted an apology.
They gave one.
We wanted wrongdoers out of the picture.
They removed the appropriate people.
We wanted a plan so this never happens again.
They implemented 10 pages of recommendations and created an executive-level task force to supervise implementation.
They will work with the NCAA on possible sanctions and will build a safety network for students.
Baylor is taking the right steps to rebuild trust.
Now comes the follow-through.