May 26, 2016

The Fallout at Baylor


After months of controversy over how Baylor University responded to reports of sexual assaults on its campus, including by athletes, the Texas institution has demoted its president, Kenneth W. Starr; moved to fire its football coach, Art Briles; and penalized its athletic director, Ian McCaw.

The university's summary of an investigation by an outside law firm describes actions that appear to violate the federal gender-equity law known as Title IX, including discouraging sexual-assault victims from reporting what happened to them and removing accused athletes from the regular student-conduct system.

Following are links to Chronicle articles that explain how we got here, and what might happen next.

Linda A. Livingstone, dean of the George Washington School of Business, said she is confident that cultural change can happen on the Texas campus.

Some students and alumni are wearied by a parade of headlines about the university’s handling of sexual assault. But others say the focus should remain until problems are fully acknowledged and fixed.

This week, the university unveiled a website that it has used to challenge critics. Its actions have riled some alumni and upset campus activists.

L. Gregory Jones says such an approach would not only address sexual assault but also "help us think differently about bullying and about the ways we relate to each other."

The university's recently demoted president told ESPN he would retain his faculty position in the law school.

The university’s leaders face a steep challenge in enacting the reforms that they promised after Baylor’s response to sexual violence, especially involving its football team, was found to be riddled with problems.

Two high-profile departures of Title IX administrators underscore the pressures that come with being a college’s "moral compass."

The university’s decision to demote the president and fire the football coach left activists feeling as if their voices had finally been heard.

Virtually everything that could be wrong with a university's and an athletic department's treatment of sexual assault was wrong at Baylor.

Whom do governing boards call when their college is under fire for mishandling a sexual assault? An outsider.

A petition urging the regents to keep the president in office has gained more than a thousand signatures. But some say the effort is misguided.

Incidents involving the Baptist university’s powerhouse football team have unsettled many students. Now the administration is taking action on a problem that activists say runs deeper than sports.

His success at Pepperdine Law, a surprise to some early critics, has raised hopes that he can soothe tensions at the Texas institution.