Baylor University statement in response to HR664 as filed by Rep. Gutierrez

February 27, 2017
“Baylor University renews its pledge to extend our full cooperation with governmental and law enforcement authorities surrounding the issue of sexual assaults that occurred within our campus community several years ago, as we have done with other external inquiries that are currently underway. As an example, the Office of Civil Rights will have representatives on the Baylor campus this week to meet with various administrators and students, including confidential open office hours that are available to all students, faculty and staff.

“Our hearts are heavy at the thought of anyone experiencing sexual assault within the Baylor Family. As we have said previously, any such acts are reprehensible and unacceptable. The University remains committed to eliminating all forms of sexual and gender-based harassment and discrimination within our campus community.

“We continue to outline the unprecedented actions that Baylor has taken in response to the issue of sexual assaults involving our campus community. These actions, among many, include:
  • A University-wide investigation that concluded with 105 recommendations to strengthen the safety and security of our students, with 80 of these either complete or operationalized to date;
  • Leadership changes within the University’s administration and athletic department; and
  • Development of a robust Title IX office, with extensive Title IX training for all students, faculty and staff.

“It is important to note that HR664 as filed contains several factual inaccuracies and/or mischaracterizations:
  • Baylor has previously disclosed that it is aware of 17 women who have reported to media or University resources allegations of sexual assault and domestic violence involving 19 football players since 2011. Any other reported figures are allegations from opposing parties as part of legal proceedings. The University continues to maintain that even one sexual assault within our campus community is too many.
  • Baylor is currently reviewing approximately 125 reports of sexual assault or harassment from 2011 to 2015. This is a part of the 105 recommendations adopted by the University to evaluate patterns and trends as well as to identify victims who are still at Baylor and may need support or restorative assistance.
  • The Baylor University Police Department (BUPD) became compliant with Senate Bill No. 308 from the 2015 Legislative Session on Sept. 1, 2015. This law requires police departments at private universities to comply with certain aspects of the Texas Public Information Act. Information regarding Texas Public Information Act open records requests is readily available on the BUPD website. Requests can be sent by mail, fax, email or in person. Baylor has worked with outside legal counsel to ensure BUPD’s compliance with the Texas Public Information Act.

“The Baylor University Police Department has made significant strides in its response to sexual violence and overall campus safety, such as the increase of on-campus cameras, increase of officers and dispatchers and the expansion of crime prevention programs. In 2014, Baylor University commissioned an external audit of its Police Department by Margolis Healy & Associates that resulted in revamping BUPD, including the hiring of a new police chief as well as creating the associate vice president for public safety and security position, which oversees the department. Since September of 2014, BUPD has undergone numerous changes that have led to improved responses regarding sexual assault:
  • Texas Commission on Law Enforcement requires officers to complete 40 hours of training every two years. BUPD officers easily exceed those hours. In 2015, on average Baylor officers completed 100 hours of training. Included in BUPD training is 32 hours of in-service training each May to cover Title IX and the Clery Act.
  • The University hired a Victim Advocate to assist complainants throughout the investigative process, which includes helping the complainant navigate Title IX and criminal justice processes.
  • To aid in investigating sexual assault cases, BUPD began video recording all complainant, witness and suspect interviews. This process allows complainants to relay information once and aids investigators by allowing them to gather information firsthand.
  • All BUPD investigators take the Texas Sexual Assault Family Violence Investigators Certification Course and the Victim-Centered Interviewing and Forensic Interviewing trainings.
  • BUPD participates in the University’s weekly Title IX case management meetings along with others who assist complainants in the Title IX process.
  • BUPD and the Waco Police Department participate in regular investigators’ meetings to discuss crime trends, suspects and active critical cases.
  • Baylor’s Department of Public Safety, which oversees BUPD, continues to work with external criminal justice agencies such as the District Attorney’s Office and local law enforcement to facilitate direct access between Title IX staff and these agencies.
  • BUPD has participated in McLennan County’s Sexual Assault Response Team for several years.
  • BUPD implemented BU Campus Guardian, a free phone app that allows users to call or text dispatchers, to aid in overall campus safety. The app also features a mapping feature to send location coordinates to dispatchers when an emergency is reported by the user.

“In addition to the significant efforts within BUPD, Baylor University has demonstrated a firm commitment to increased awareness and prevention of sexual assault, as well as providing comprehensive support services for any student in need of them. This commitment includes:
  • $4.3 million investment in the Title IX office and other services for sexual assault victims since November 2014, when the University hired its first full-time Title IX Coordinator;
  • Expansion of Title IX staff to seven full-time positions. In addition, Baylor has hired five external professionals and an outside attorney to work directly with the Title IX office;
  • Employment of a full-time training and prevention specialist who is tasked with providing and coordinating training, presentations, group discussions and additional resources around the prevention of sexual assault and interpersonal violence, including Title IX policy, procedures and available resources; and the
  • Addition of 18 new positions to the Baylor University Counseling Center, which doubled the number of previous staff.”
Are you looking for more News & Updates?