Mac Engel

Baylor admits to providing Big 12 misleading statistic about faculty members and sexual harassment

Baylor University admitted it provided the incomplete information and the unflattering data points published by the Big 12 in its verification report of the school on Tuesday that BU objected to on Wednesday.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Big 12 published the 55-page report regarding the school’s attempts to implement Title IX procedures, which it has done to the satisfaction of the conference.

On page 43 of that report, which was written by the law firm hired by the conference to conduct the investigation, is the following statement: “Climate Survey results indicate that 56% of Baylor students have experienced sexual harassment by a faculty member that involved sexist or sexually offensive language, gestures, or pictures. In response, the (Baylor) Title IX Office has offered targeted and individualized trainings for faculty members in Baylor departments on an as needed / as requested basis.

“Further, Baylor recognizes that additional training and education on this issue must be included in its annual online training module for faculty and staff. Baylor currently has begun the process for evaluating and improving this training.”

Baylor did issue a statement from president Linda Livingstone on Tuesday after the report was released. There was no mention of objecting to any part of the report.

When that specific statistic about the faculty members from the Big 12’s report was published verbatim by the Star-Telegram on Wednesday morning, Baylor issued a denial and a clarification of that statistic; basically, per BU, the figure was 17 percent rather than 56 percent.

It turns out, according to Baylor, the information it vehemently objected to was provided by ... Baylor.

After the respective lawyers from the Big 12 and Baylor all conferred on Wednesday, BU discovered that BU provided the law firm all of the data, and this specific figure in question.

Baylor told the Star-Telegram, “During the verification process, Baylor provided the Big 12 with a summary list of accomplishments and activities following the University’s 2017 climate survey that failed to summarize the survey results completely and accurately. This summary list was subsequently included in the Big 12 report released yesterday on page 43. Baylor has been in contact with the Big 12 to communicate the accurate number of 17 percent of respondents.”

While the raw data is available for all, including the investigators, to view from a survey conducted in Nov. of 2017, the university provided the investigating law firm the Cliff Notes version, too. Like any good college student, the law firm went with the more eye-friendly model.

The Cliff Notes version, provided by Baylor, included the 56 percent statistic. The law firm used that figure.

The Big 12 said it is not sure if the verification report, because it was written by a third party firm, will be amended to include a full context and explanation of that statistic.

The report looks like a user agreement one might sign for an ITunes account; it’s long, with fine print; there is a good chance most people didn’t read it. The talking points from the report were the $2 million fine imposed by the conference on the league, and the $1.6 million in legal fees that school will have to cover to pay for the verification process.

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