Baylor University Announces Continuing Actions to Address Interpersonal Violence in Our Campus CommunityMarch 22, 2016
Media Contact: Tonya Lewis, 254-710-4656
WACO, Texas (March 22, 2016) – Baylor University President and Chancellor Ken Starr today announced the most recent actions the University will take to continue improvements in the prevention of and response to interpersonal violence in our campus community. These include improvements focused on increasing Title IX Office resources; progress toward expansion of Baylor’s Counseling Center; and enhancements to Baylor’s public safety efforts.
The improvements are part of a $5 million commitment from the Baylor Board of Regents to support University actions designed to prevent and respond to acts of interpersonal violence. In addition to these immediate actions, intensive planning has begun to establish an executive-level task force to act upon recommendations resulting from the ongoing Pepper Hamilton review.
“We feel a deeply personal responsibility to our students to evaluate and improve continuously our educational efforts, processes and support resources around the response to interpersonal violence,” President Starr said. “I have called upon and worked closely with University leadership and the Baylor Board of Regents to identify and operationalize improvements focused on our commitment to care for the needs of students and ensure their safety.”
Title IX Office
Improvements to the Title IX Office include immediate funding for additional full-time staff dedicated to prevention education and training; Title IX complaint investigation; and coordination of administrative needs. These staff members will join a team of full-time professionals already in place and further expand their ability to respond efficiently and consistently to the needs of all parties involved in Title IX policy-related reports.
Additionally, the Title IX case management systems will be enhanced with additional technology and resources to facilitate the connection of students to critically important support services and to improve the coordination of information among Title IX staff.
Last month, the Baylor Board of Regents affirmed a plan to expand the services of the Baylor Counseling Center and committed significant additional resources to this expansion. To date, approximately $900,000 has been dedicated to the Counseling Center for enhancements that include:
- Adding licensed counselors from the local community to provide an immediate increase in appointment availability;
- Increasing staffing capacity and protocols to provide students who have experienced interpersonal violence with timely, seamless assistance at the Counseling Center;
- Establishing weekly sexual assault survivor support programs; and
- Expanding training for all Counseling Center staff to include the latest information about the treatment of individuals who have experienced trauma. Initial training will be provided by Dr. Edna Foa, a nationally recognized post-traumatic stress disorder expert.
Department of Public Safety
Currently one of approximately 1,200 members of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA), the Baylor University Police Department (BUPD) will continue to actively pursue IACLEA accreditation. The rigorous accreditation process will guide the BUPD as the Department reviews and implements best practices in policing measures that improve campus safety and security. Additional support staff will be added to help coordinate Clery Act compliance and training. This will assist the BUPD in its pursuit of IACLEA accreditation.
Other areas of the Department of Public Safety will likewise see improvements. In order to both strengthen coordination and broaden security coverage, campus building security officers who have been distributed across campus will be consolidated into and supervised by the BUPD. Additionally, the BUPD will increase Thursday, Friday and Saturday patrols in the neighborhoods adjacent to campus in order to monitor and provide visible support for student safety in off-campus areas.
Executive-Level Task Force on Implementation
President Starr, along with Richard Willis, chair of the Baylor Board of Regents, will establish a multi-disciplinary task force to act promptly upon the recommendations resulting from Pepper Hamilton’s independent review. Last fall, Pepper Hamilton was retained by the Baylor Board of Regents to conduct a comprehensive review of the University’s response to reports of interpersonal violence under Title IX.
“As we await the results of the Pepper Hamilton review, we will continue to address areas where improvements will lead to a safer campus culture,” President Starr said. “Our mission calls upon us to prepare leaders and servants for the entire world within a caring Christian community. We will continue diligently to pursue a supportive environment where care for one another is paramount in the pursuit of that mission.”
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.