Baylor University’s uphill battle to get past its sexual assault scandal has been rough.
The school cleaned house in May after an outside report called its response to the assaults a “fundamental failure.” Regents adopted the report’s 100-plus recommendations and created two task forces.
But nothing much else was heard from the school until its Title IX coordinator, Patty Crawford, not so quietly resigned in October.
Speaking with the media, Crawford made multiple allegations against the school. She said Baylor set her up to fail and cared more about its brand than its students.
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She also filed a complaint with the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights.
Baylor’s response to Crawford has been anywhere from awkward, sending out a news release close to midnight, to aggressive, an entire webpage devoted to a counteroffensive against Crawford’s interview on 60 minutes Sports.
But it seems Baylor has finally decided to do something that feels positive and productive.
This past week, officials set up a website aimed at more openness and communication.
The website, baylor.edu/thetruth, has information about funds spent on its Title IX office, progress on the reforms ordered by regents and a “report it” button, among other links.
And interim President David Garland pens a thorough and heartfelt message, finally giving some background on key decisions.
“That Baylor did not respond as a caring Christian community to those who were hurt grieves all of us. … I will do all I can to ensure this never happens again,” he writes.
This website is the tool Baylor sorely needs, but it has to be helpful.
On Friday, Garland used the website to “respond to media coverage” about Crawford’s claims about Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Reagan Ramsower.
Garland’s statement is defensive and not conducive to the overall “course of continuous improvement” he wants for Baylor.
If Baylor keeps to an open and positive plan of change, it might heal. But a lot of back-and-forth about media coverage is not going to help much.