Last Thursday, Baylor University released the results of an independent investigation regarding the university’s handling of recent sexual assault cases.
A summary of the report conducted by Pepper Hamilton, LLP, paints the Baylor football program as a hostile, dangerous environment where “choices made by football staff…posed a risk to campus safety and the integrity of the University.” These choices include meeting with alleged victims rather than reporting the acts to the appropriate authorities and creating an internal system of punishment for players accused of sexual violence.
The problems, however, are more systemic and far-reaching than the football program. The summary claims lack of institutional control, uncovering reports of “victim-blaming” among the University’s administrators and the local police department. In some instances, those hired to protect Baylor students “accommodated or created a hostile environment, rather than taking action to eliminate a hostile environment.”
In one case, a University administrator retaliated against a student for reporting sexual violence. The report claims Baylor created a “win-at-all-costs” culture where the football program was “above the rules.”
The findings of Pepper Hamilton culminates seven years of sexual assault allegations and negligence by the University. Over this span, at least six women have accused eight Baylor football players of sexual violence.
In March, Jasmin Hernandez filed a lawsuit, alleging she was raped, and the school ignored her. The case went to court, and former Baylor football player Tevin Elliot was convicted of raping Hernandez. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Another former player, Sam Ukwuachu, was also convicted of raping a female soccer player.
Since making the report public last Thursday, Baylor has taken swift action, firing head football coach Art Briles, removing President Ken Star from his position, and placing Vice President and Athletics Directors Ian McCaw on probation. McCaw resigned yesterday, saying in a statement the move was necessary for Baylor’s “unity, restoration and healing.”
McCaw’s resignation came an hour after school hired Jim Grobe as interim head football coach. Touted for his dedication to values and doing things the right way, Grobe’s arrival is the first step in a long road to restoring “Baylor Pride” and ridding the University of institutional corruption.
Baylor is a Baptist university, the world’s largest, and the oldest institution of higher learning in Texas.