David Garland: SACSCOC Notice

December 6, 2016
Dear Faculty and Staff:

I wanted to let you know that for the past several months, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) has been working with Baylor University to better understand the findings and implications of the Pepper Hamilton review on the status of overall safety and support for students on our campus. We have received verbal notice that the University has been given a one-year "warning" sanction for noncompliance in three areas.

We provided SACSCOC with documentation of our procedures, processes and improvements across a wide range of areas. We also noted that almost all of the shortcomings identified by Pepper Hamilton occurred around past practices, the vast majority of which had already been addressed or would be addressed imminently through the implementation of the recommendations.

SACSCOC will monitor Baylor’s compliance with three core standards: 2.10 The institution provides student support programs, services, and activities consistent with its mission that are intended to promote student learning and enhance the development of its students. (Student support services); 3.2.11 The institution’s chief executive officer has ultimate responsibility for, and exercises appropriate administrative and fiscal control over, the institution’s intercollegiate athletics program. (Control of intercollegiate athletics); 3.11.2 The institution takes reasonable steps to provide a healthy, safe, and secure environment for all members of the campus community. (Institutional environment)

I believe this warning sanction was to be expected given the shortcomings identified, the media exposure and the public release of the Pepper Hamilton findings. We received the lesser of the two sanctions because of the quick action taken in May, when the Findings of Fact and Recommendation documents were published. SACSCOC needs the one-year period to review documentation and effectiveness of the reforms and measures we have taken. Documentation and continued improvement are key.

We are committed to ongoing support for our Title IX Office, developing more robust education and prevention programs and continuing to strengthen the oversight and integration of athletics within all aspects of the University. We are confident that the full implementation of significant and broad-ranging improvements will adequately address the SACSCOC concerns.

We remain accredited with SACSCOC - and are confident that we will have proven by this time next year that these areas are fully in compliance with SACSCOC guidelines.

We will continue to cooperate fully with SACSCOC and fully implement the Pepper Hamilton Recommendations. Further information can be found at www.baylor.edu/thefacts/.

Sincerely, 

David E. Garland
Interim President
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