Baylor Board of Regents Approves New Measures to Handle Sexual Assault on Campus

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2016

A Baylor helmet is placed along the team bench area during an NCAA college football game against Texas Tech Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman)
Roger Steinman/Associated Press

Baylor University has been scrutinized for its handling of sexual assaults on campus in recent years, and the school took a step toward rectifying the problem Friday when the Board of Regents approved new measures designed to help victims.

According to the Dallas Morning News' Shehan Jeyarajah, several new measures focus on committing more resources to Title IX investigations and training:

Shehan Jeyarajah @ShehanJeyarajah

#Baylor's Board of Regents has approved new measures to help dealing with sexual assault on campus: https://t.co/y5rGDCNWbS

Baylor's announcement comes on the heels of a letter that President and Chancellor Ken Starr penned to the university community Feb. 7.

In the letter, Starr mentioned the school had hired Philadelphia-based law firm Pepper Hamilton to conduct a thorough review of the school's history of sexual assault and offer "forward-looking recommendations."

Over the past few years, several high-profile cases of sexual assault at Baylor have included members of the football team.

In August 2015, transfer Sam Ukwuachu was sentenced to 180 days in a county jail after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a Baylor women's soccer player. The case came under intense scrutiny when "a Baylor official testified the school investigated the woman's complaint but didn't find enough evidence 'to move forward,'" according to ESPN.com.

A year earlier, Tevin Elliott was sentenced to 20 years in jail and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine after he was found guilty on two counts of sexual assault dating back to a 2012 incident at the school, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald's Tommy Witherspoon.

More recently, ESPN's Outside the Lines detailed cases of sexual assault that school administrators reportedly ignored:

An investigation by Outside the Lines found several examples in Tanya's case, and others at Baylor, in which school officials either failed to investigate, or adequately investigate, allegations of sexual violence. In many cases, officials did not provide support to those who reported assaults. Moreover, it took Baylor more than three years to comply with a federal directive: In April 2011, the U.S. Department of Education sent a letter to all colleges and universities outlining their responsibilities under Title IX, including the need for each school to have a Title IX coordinator. Baylor didn't hire a full-time coordinator until fall 2014. 

"We know we can and must do a better job to confront interpersonal violence in our campus community," Starr said upon the announcement of the new measures, per the school's press release. "We will learn many things from the external review that has been commissioned by Baylor Regents, and that information will guide our future plans."


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