This afternoon, the URL www.baylor.edu/thetruth went live; no, the URL and website names are not the worst part.
As Baylor’s attempt to throw 18 committees at the problem didn’t stop reporters from asking questions about how the university became a living hell for women who reported they were sexually assaulted, the university launched a website dedicated to releasing what it deems to be appropriate and important information about its response to the public. The site’s mission, per a published letter from university interim president David Garland, is to help Baylor be “more transparent wherever possible about the sexual assault crisis.” The website includes the following sections:
- Message from David Garland
- Articles of Interest
- Support for Title IX Office and Victims of Sexual Assault: a section showing how much the university has spent on its Title IX office since November 2014
- A link to the Baylor Title IX website
- A link to Baylor’s mission statement
- A link to Baylor’s Response to Sexual Violence page
Just three sections actually include new content, although they don’t provide any information about what people actually want to know—how the Baptist institution incubated an environment of blissful ignorance that led to at least 17 allegations of sexual assault, including four accounts of gang rape, from female Baylor students in the past five years.
Instead, Garland subtly takes a dig at the journalists covering the fallout, writing the regents have no copies of the Pepper Hamilton report to turn over. This ignores the fact the regents all sat through the Pepper Hamilton report presentation, were privy to the same information published by the WSJ months ago, and used that deliberate lack of a paper trail to bury its scandal. Baylor leaders only started talking recently to the press in an attempt to get ahead of the news cycle.
Garland goes on to say that the regents’ decision to fire former head coach Art Briles but retain the rest of his hand-picked coaching staff was one made out of fairness to the coaches:
These painful, often agonizing decisions were not based on specific incidents – but on the extent of the problems, organizational shortcomings and repeated failures to care for those who came forward to report sexual violence. With regard to assistant football coaches and other administrators, we decided it would be unfair to remove those further down in the organization for the mistakes of their leaders.
The “Articles of Interest” section says it will contain “media reports, published opinions, letters to the editor and other articles” the Baylor administration feels will “help shed light on our actions and decisions.” It is, in fact, a page with links to two articles: the Wall Street Journal’s report in which the regents attempted to show the blame landed on the correct parties (mainly Briles) by finally revealing a portion of what Pepper Hamilton told them; and an open letter published in the Dallas Morning News from Baylor regent Mark Lovvorn in which Lovvorn says that a dead decorated U.S. WWII veteran and former Baylor football player would agree with the board’s decision to fire Briles.
At no point does the website mention what’s also scheduled to go live tonight—a 28-minute special report on the Baylor scandal produced by CBS’s 60 Minutes Sports. It’s scheduled to air at 8 p.m. on Showtime.