Other Voices

Baylor Board of Regents should release full Pepper Hamilton report

Baylor University will look to rebuild its reputation and perhaps its football program after an outside review found administrators mishandled allegations of sexual assault and the team operated under the perception it was above the rules.
Baylor University will look to rebuild its reputation and perhaps its football program after an outside review found administrators mishandled allegations of sexual assault and the team operated under the perception it was above the rules. AP

The executive committee of The Baylor Line Foundation calls on the Baylor Board of Regents to immediately release the full Pepper Hamilton report of its investigation into Baylor’s handling of multiple sexual assault and domestic violence accusations, many of them involving Baylor athletes.

The Baylor family deserves an unvarnished, complete accounting of how these events were handled.

The “Findings of Fact” document that Baylor released is not a summary of specific facts. It is a list of conclusions reached by the regents.

The board is to be commended for acknowledging that the institution bears responsibility for a gut-wrenching series of failings.

But without a detailed explanation of the facts, the board’s release falls far short of the level of transparency that the Baylor family — and the people directly affected — deserve.

We acknowledge that there are complex legal issues involved in making Pepper Hamilton’s factual findings public. Privacy laws and promises of anonymity must be honored.

But Baylor has hired sophisticated and experienced lawyers. They are capable of issuing a report that conceals certain students’ and victims’ identities consistent with the law while laying bare the detailed factual findings and the bases of Pepper Hamilton’s recommendations.

Releasing a detailed factual report is important to assure the Baylor family that the right people have been held accountable and that those in power are not using misguided notions of confidentiality to shield their own actions.

Full disclosure is also essential to protect the reputations of those blameless Baylor employees who may wish to depart for other opportunities without a cloud of suspicion over their heads.

One example that illustrates the need for full disclosure is the board of regents’ failure to describe the specific facts that caused Pepper Hamilton to make significant recommendations about board of regents structure and behavior. The recommendations include:

“Resolve current governance issues at Executive Council and board levels.” (III.1.)

“Evaluate and make recommendations regarding board size and composition.” (III.2.)

“Review considerations and standards for new board membership, including actual or perceived conflicts of interest, and implement due diligence standards in the selection of board members.” (III.2.)

“…train and educate coaches about the need to remain with(in) appropriate reporting protocols and lines of communication when addressing members of the Board of Regents.” (X.7.)

Yet there is nothing in the board of regents’ “Findings of Fact” that seems to relate to these board “issues,” “conflicts of interest” and “reporting protocols and lines of communication” with coaches. Why not?

Baylor must ensure everyone understands the totality of what occurred and the steps taken to make sure it never happens again.

The Baylor Line Foundation was formerly known as the Baylor Alumni Foundation.

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