November 2016: Responding to questions from the Baylor Family and the media about the sexual assault crisis is an important part of our commitment to transparency.
|Why does Baylor answer some media questions but not others?||At Baylor, we believe in the importance of being open, honest and transparent. We know that the Baylor Family and the public at large need information to understand what went wrong with Title IX implementation at Baylor and what we are doing to ensure those mistakes never happen again.|
There are, however, other important factors that the University must consider when we receive a media inquiry. In this case, nothing is - or ever will be - more important than protecting the privacy of the victims of sexual assault or domestic violence. Our promise to be sensitive to the needs of survivors will continue to be paramount.
|In a November 17 editorial, the Dallas Morning News demanded "more details" about Baylor's disclosure that 17 women reported allegations of sexual assault involving 19 football players since 2011. Does Baylor intend to respond?||We believed it was important to provide the Baylor Family, the public and the media some information about the scope of the problem involving football players and sexual assaults. But, after careful consideration, we decided to keep discussion of these findings to the most general level. Survivors of sexual assault should not have to live in fear that their identities or the circumstances surrounding their attacks will be made public, forcing them to relive their trauma. If they wish to share their stories, we support their right to do so. Additionally, some survivors chose not to proceed with formal complaints against the respondents involved in these allegations. Thus, the respondents were never processed through the Title IX Office or the criminal justice system. While many of their names have been reported by the media, Baylor will not share details that will compromise their identities. This lack of response is not a result of Baylor's desire to be secretive. Rather, it is a commitment to respect the privacy rights of individuals involved in these cases.|
|In the same editorial, the Dallas Morning News also demanded access to "all communication" between a Baylor senior vice president and a former Title IX coordinator. Does Baylor intend to provide internal emails to the newspaper?||We have posted on our webpage a detailed timeline of support for the Title IX Office, which includes excerpts from a wide range of emails and text messages that provide important context and additional insight. Just as a newspaper would never release private emails between an editor and a reporter discussing a story, we see no need to release private emails between two individuals that add no additional context. In short, we will continue to work to respond promptly to all reasonable media requests. And we will decide on a case-by-case basis whether the questions posed are too intrusive or irrelevant to warrant fulsome responses.|
|If Reagan Ramsower oversaw the Baylor Police Department, the Baylor Title IX office, the Judicial Affairs Office, and the Counseling Center -- and each of those entities failed in a significant way -- why has he not been terminated or sanctioned?||Dr. Reagan Ramsower has been blamed in recent media stories for many of Baylor's Title IX failures. But the truth is that Dr. Ramsower never had responsibility for Judicial Affairs or the Counseling Center and did not supervise the Title IX Office and Coordinator until June 2016. Yes, he was in charge of Baylor's Police Department. It was his team that recognized the need for change at the top and that the police department needed to adopt the emerging standards of student safety. Even before Baylor established a Title IX office, Dr. Ramsower initiated sweeping changes to create a Department of Public Safety, replace the police chief, enhance training for officers and build relationships with city and county officials. Dr. Ramsower now supervises the Title IX Coordinator, Kristan Tucker, and the campus-wide effort to implement the 105 Pepper Hamilton recommendations.|
|Didn't the Board of Regents fail Baylor?||Like all governing boards, the Regents are responsible for selecting the CEO, or President, and holding this individual accountable for carrying out the mission and priorities of the institution. The day-to-day management of the University is the responsibility of the chief executive and he or she is held accountable. But there is no doubt that, as the Pepper Hamilton investigation makes clear, everyone in a Baylor leadership role shares responsibility for the way Baylor mishandled reports of sexual violence and support for victims. For that, the Regents acknowledge their fair share of blame.|
|Doesn't this crisis require a change in Baylor's governance model?||The Board has recognized the need to update its policies and procedures, and is doing so. In July, it made major changes: dissolving the Athletics Committee to integrate athletics governance more fully into the University's overall governance structure; establishing clearer lines of communication and authority between the Board and University administration; developing an Executive Committee to improve the efficiencies of the Board's work and more closely align Board priorities with the operational needs of the University; and beginning implementation of the alumni-elected Regent process.|
|Why did it take so long to release this sort of information about the Pepper Hamilton investigation?||Leadership of the University genuinely believed it was in everyone's best interest to share the broad Findings of Fact while holding closely to absolute confidentiality for victims and respondents. If you read the original Findings of Fact released in May, you will see failure after failure enumerated there. This document has been recognized as one of the most thorough self-assessments published by a major institution. Since publishing it, however, we have come to realize that the Baylor Family needs more factual context to help understand the changes in leadership as well as the gravity of the problem of sexual assault on and around our campus. We began responding more openly to press inquiries and launched this webpage dedicated to greater transparency about the Pepper Hamilton findings and our actions going forward.|
It also became increasingly obvious that the Baylor Family needed more information to heal. The longer the University remained silent, the more others continued to tell our story. One-sided and misleading narratives began filling the void. These narratives promoted conspiracy theories and a fundamental misunderstanding of who Baylor is.
We believe it is important to provide facts that offer additional perspectives to the story.
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