In reaction to one of its football players being convicted of sexually assaulting another student, Baylor announced it would investigate “the circumstances associated with this case.” Merely a week later, the university released results from the law professor-led investigation at 7 p.m. Central on a Friday—ensuring the least press coverage possible. So what were the results? That they are going to do another investigation.
Here’s the opening of the statement from Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr. Emphasis added is mine.
We must guarantee there is no room at Baylor University for those who would perpetrate sexual violence on our campus. I want to thank Jeremy Counseller, Professor of Law and Faculty Athletics Representative, for his judgment and guidance. After reviewing the results of his internal inquiry, I am recommending that our Board of Regents retain the services of outside counsel to investigate thoroughly these matters and recommend continued improvements. The Board plans to announce its selection of outside counsel early next week.
If you include the awful investigation Baylor did after the rape accusation first came to its attention, that makes this the third inquiry into what happened; Baylor itself never releases the actual findings. Before Sam Ukwuachu’s trial, the university refused to talk about what it had done. It was the work of McLennan County prosecutors that revealed the university’s lackadaisical work that helped clear Ukwuachu—who could have returned to football if not for a jury finding him guilty.
This time around is no different. Baylor has done an investigation, and it won’t say what has been found. The findings weren’t included with the press release. I wrote back to their spokeswoman asking for a copy of the findings, and didn’t hear back. The Waco Tribune-Herald called and left messages for the professor who did the investigation, Jeremy Counseller, and Starr; neither called back.
But there’s more to that Baylor statement. It also announces the creation of another administrator who, it is implied, will address all the mistakes that Baylor hasn’t admitted to.
In addition, I am creating a unique position, housed in the Division of Athletics, that has the authority and oversight of all student-athlete behavior. This officer-level position will report directly to the President and ensure our student-athletes maintain the high level of personal ethics and integrity that Baylor Nation demands. I will work directly with the Board of Regents to formulate the specific responsibilities of this position.
This sounds a lot like another athletic director, wrapped up in gauzy language to sound better. Notably, it does not say if this new position will handle the things that Baylor screwed up: investigating allegations involving athletes and researching transfer players to see if they’ve been violent in the past. Finally, the statement ends with more platitudes.
Baylor University is committed to maintaining the highest degree of campus safety to protect the welfare of all our students. This is central to Baylor’s mission as a Christian university and at the heart of our commitment to our students, faculty and staff. We must have zero tolerance for sexual violence on our athletic teams and our campus.
This is the third statement Baylor has issued since Ukwuachu’s conviction, this one coming on the same day that it was reported that the woman raped by Ukwuachu has retained one of the best known Title IX lawyers in the country. Every statement gets longer and makes sure to remind us that they are a Christian university. What Baylor doesn’t realize is that none of these pithy words matter. They can do 200 investigations and none of them will make a difference because Baylor still hasn’t said what needs to be said: What can we do to make sure this never happens again.
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