Just as the spring issue of Baylor Magazine was wrapping up, we learned the findings of the independent, external investigation into Baylor's response to reports of sexual and interpersonal violence were nearing completion. We decided to postpone the spring issue and begin work on this special section providing an update on the actions underway to impact our campus culture, processes and priorities as a result of the findings.
You may recall from our fall 2015 issue, Baylor's Board of Regents (BOR) retained the services of the Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton LLP in September to conduct a thorough and independent investigation into the university's handling of cases of alleged sexual violence.
Following the Pepper Hamilton briefing in May 2016, the BOR announced that key findings of the investigation reflected "a fundamental failure by Baylor to implement Title IX" and related federal mandates, in addition to failures within the athletics department and football program to "take appropriate action" in response to reports of sexual violence by student athletes.
The BOR announced significant leadership changes and "corrective actions" including the removal of Ken Starr as president (Starr later resigned as chancellor), the suspension of football head coach Art Briles with intent to terminate (the termination has been completed) and the probation and sanctioning of Director of Athletics Ian McCaw (McCaw later resigned as director of athletics).
At presstime, this was a continually developing story. Visit baylor.edu/rtsv for the most current information including the BOR announcement, the Findings of Fact and Pepper Hamilton's 105 Recommendations related to the investigation.
In addition to news on campus and several features about the impact of the Baylor experience on individuals making a difference in the world, we have realigned this spring/summer issue to offer insight into the task ahead. This issue describes how the university is already working to better serve our students as it implements the Pepper Hamilton recommendations.
In the following pages you will find a version of the letter Interim President David E. Garland sent to the Baylor family in early June calling for unity and a commitment to student welfare.
Following Garland's letter, Baylor's new Executive Vice President and Provost L. Gregory Jones shares thoughtful and insightful comments regarding campus events, healing and a renewed commitment to spiritual formation.
Patty Crawford, Baylor's Title IX coordinator since November 2014, provides background into Title IX and the university's continued efforts to enhance and expand services and raise awareness around the issue of sexual and interpersonal violence.
Jim Marsh, director for counseling services at Baylor, outlines how the number of students seeking mental and emotional assistance is a rising tide on campuses across the nation, including at the Baylor Counseling Center. As a result of improvements announced in February, the center received additional funding that is helping the staff grow and expand options for students.
Finally, in this section we address safety at Baylor. Mark Childers, associate vice president for public safety and security, and Brad Wigtil, chief of police, discuss community interaction, training and anticipating campus needs.
We hope these stories will help the Baylor family understand the efforts being made to help our community heal, grow and become a leader in sexual assault prevention, response and recovery.