Title IX is a federal law passed in 1972 that prohibits sex discrimination in education programs and activities. Title IX requires educational institutions take action to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based harassment and violence. Under Title IX, when a school learns about sexual harassment or violence, the school has to take steps to investigate the report, provide support to protect the complainant and ensure continued access to education or employment opportunities. If the conduct is found to have occurred, the school has to take action to eliminate the conduct, prevent its occurrence and address its effects.
Baylor implements Title IX through its Title IX Office and has designated Kristan Tucker as Title IX Coordinator. Information about the Office and a form for confidential reporting can be found at www.baylor.edu/titleix.
Pepper Hamilton LLP is a law firm with a national practice focused on improving institutional responses to sexual and gender-based harassment and violence. Baylor University’s Board of Regents engaged Pepper Hamilton to independently investigate matters related to the university’s response to reports of sexual violence. They were selected because of their subject matter expertise, their widely respected body of work in this area and their reputation for being candid, objective and forthright in their investigations and legal advice.
The criminal conviction of a former student-athlete in August 2015 prompted the University to begin a thorough examination of its response to sexual assault and dating violence. Information presented during the criminal proceedings raised questions about the adequacy of University practices to prevent and respond to incidents of sexual violence, and Baylor took immediate action to evaluate the effectiveness of existing policies and practices.
Organizations sometimes need to reset their course, and this often requires a change in leadership. Organizations are not perfect, and this past summer - as Baylor came face to face with its failings related to the prevention of sexual assault and its response to and support of students who experienced sexual assault while in our care - the need for a change became evident. Ken Starr became University Chancellor and later resigned. Dr. David E. Garland was appointed Baylor’s interim president.
The review also found a need to restore a tone of accountability and re-alignment of the athletics program with the University mission, which led to changes in leadership within the Athletics department and football program.
The investigation yielded 105 recommendations for improvement. The University accepted these as mandates. Almost 3/4 of these recommendations have been addressed since June. You can track our progress at www.baylor.edu/rtsv/progress. Among the most significant improvements:
Baylor continues to be committed to excellence in all things, from academics and research pursuits to the athletic field and service to others.
Baylor formed two key task forces - one focused on operational improvements, the other focused on spiritual life and character formation. Guided by the conviction that Baylor’s Christian mission must animate the entire life of the University, the Spiritual Life and Character Formation Task Force is guiding and uplifting our community to pursue its calling.