Baylor Pledges Cooperation with OCR Review

Oct. 19, 2016

Media Contact: Tonya Lewis, 254-710-1961

Follow Baylor Media Communications on Twitter: @BaylorUMedia

WACO, Texas (Oct. 19, 2016) – On Tuesday evening, the University received notice from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) that it will investigate a complaint filed by Baylor’s former Title IX Coordinator. An OCR review of this nature results in a broad, comprehensive look at policies, procedures and practices for a specified number of years: in this case, from the Fall of 2014 to the present. Interim President David E. Garland immediately assured OCR the University will cooperate fully with the investigation.

Baylor University has placed a priority on ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our students. Last year, we engaged in a rigorous assessment, the results of which were shared publicly in May 2016, and we have committed to implementing the recommendations from the Pepper Hamilton investigation adopted by the Board of Regents in May. Our efforts to increase awareness, improve prevention through training and education, and establish policies, procedures and practices that fully support the needs of both complainants and respondents as they move through the Title IX process, have established a firm foundation for our Title IX Office.

Our work continues. Progress has been made on every front outlined in the recommendations. Baylor University’s Title IX Office has increased in size and resources (now among the largest in the Big 12) and has reviewed and improved its policies and procedures; our Counseling Center has grown and developed new expertise and policies for working with students in need; the Department of Public Safety has developed new partnerships and protocols with Title IX and received training in trauma-informed investigations; and the Athletics Department has new policies for transfer student-athletes, drug testing and student-athlete conduct. A complete look at our progress may be reviewed at www.baylor.edu/rtsv/progress. We will work with OCR to detail these efforts for their review.

While the OCR investigation will require the attention of our Title IX Coordinator and a wide range of University staff, the Title IX Office will continue to fully support students who have experienced sexual violence of any nature. As a reminder, information about Baylor’s Title IX Office and Title IX Coordinator, Kristan Tucker, may be found at www.baylor.edu/titleix. In addition, this site provides information about the University’s Title IX policy and support resources as well as reporting tools for those who have experienced or witnessed sexual violence.

In its notification letter, OCR indicates the opening of an investigation in no way implies that a determination regarding the merits of the claim has been made. We embrace and support OCR’s goal to maintain a campus free from sex and gender-based harassment and violence. Our commitment to protect and support our students, faculty and staff is resolute. We appreciate your prayers, your support of one another and your support for Baylor in meeting this important University priority.

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.

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