The law firm hired to investigate Baylor University’s repeated failure to properly handle sexual assault accusations against its football players has delivered a report, based on which Baylor’s Board of Regents has prepared its Findings of Fact. This is a surface-level report and does not identify names or details, but even the vague references are damning: The investigation determined that Baylor “discouraged” women from reporting accusations, and “retaliated” against at least one who did.
Here are some of the law firm’s findings:
• Members of the Baylor football staff repeatedly and actively refused to report sexual assault allegations to the proper administrators, and what investigations did happen
“were conducted in the context of a broader culture and belief by many administrators that sexual violence ‘doesn’t happen here.’ Administrators engaged in conduct that could be perceived as victim-blaming, focusing on the complainant’s choices and actions, rather than robustly investigating the allegations, including the actions of the respondent.”
• In some instances, football staff members met directly with accusers or parents of the accusers, and still did not report the allegations.
• University administrators directly discouraged complainants from reporting or participating in the student conduct process.
“In one instance, those actions constituted retaliation against a complainant for reporting sexual assault.”
(Here’s where the vague nature of this report is really infuriating. It sure would be nice to know who those administrators are and what kind of retaliatory actions they took.)
• Even when the university’s Judicial Affairs department did act on sexual assault reports, it conducted investigations that were described in the report as
“wholly inadequate to fairly and reliably evaluate whether sexual violence had occurred.”
• Football staff members conducted their own improper investigations into sexual assault reports, which
“improperly discredited complainants and denied them the right to a fair, impartial and informed investigation, interim measures or processes promised under University policy. In some cases, internal steps gave the illusion of responsiveness to complainants but failed to provide a meaningful institutional response under Title IX.”
• The football team operated its own internal system of discipline, which largely served to keep football players insulated from the appropriate disciplinary consequences.
You can read Baylor’s Findings of Fact below: