Baylor campus

Baylor University now faces six active Title IX lawsuits after former staffer Gabrielle Lyons alleged discrimination and retaliation at the school. 

Staff photo — Rod Aydelotte, file

Former Baylor University Title IX staffer Gabrielle Lyons sued the school late Monday, alleging university officials retaliated against her while she investigated reports of sexual violence. She demands $750,000 in lost wages, mental anguish and other costs, court records show.

Lyons resigned in November 2015 after a seven-month stint working beneath then-Title IX Coordinator Patty Crawford, whose claims of discrimination and retaliation Lyons echoed in January.

Earlier this year, Lyons filed a Title IX complaint against Baylor through the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Federal officials began investigating Baylor’s Title IX compliance in October and, in an unusual confirmation, said a complaint filed last year by Crawford sparked the investigation.

“Me, being a Christian myself, I was just appalled at the level of violence taking place so rampantly at the institution,” Lyons told ESPN in January.

Lyons has also filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, where she worked before Baylor. The lawsuit includes a document which shows the EEOC investigated Baylor earlier this year and did not find violations.

“Baylor knew of the violent culture on its campus, but took calculated steps to hide the allegations and protect its brand, to the detriment of its female students and the Title IX employees who were hired to investigate and protect students from assault and discrimination,” according to the lawsuit, which includes charges of negligence and sex discrimination.

The Title IX lawsuit is the ninth such suit filed against Baylor since March 2016. Three of those cases have been settled. Lyons’ is the second lawsuit filed by a former staffer who alleged discrimination after reviewing sexual violence reports and investigations. The first — former financial aid staffer Lyn Wheeler Kinyon, who reinstated a Baylor football player’s scholarship after a Title IX investigation appeal — had her case settled with the university in May.

Whether or not senior Baylor officials supported Crawford’s Title IX office was the focus of a public feud between them.

Dallas lawyer Rogge Dunn represents Lyons. He previously also represented Crawford and former Baylor athletics staffer Tom Hill, who was fired in May 2016 along with President Ken Starr and head football coach Art Briles.

Dunn declined comment Monday evening.

Lyons alleges she did not have “prompt access” to Baylor athletes when conducting investigations. Then-Athletics Director Ian McCaw, who now holds the same role at Liberty University, was one of several athletics department “gatekeepers” who attempted to keep football players — whether they were witnesses or alleged assailants — from Title IX participation, the lawsuit alleges.

Lyons said Colin Shillinglaw, who was also fired in May 2016 with Briles, Starr and Hill would not schedule a meeting with a star football player who witnessed an alleged assault. He then gave Lyons incorrect contact information and later said he did not have the player’s phone number.

Baylor is in the process of reviewing the complaint and declined further comment, a spokesman said Monday evening.

Lyons said she resigned because she “could no longer work for an institution retaliating against her for reporting Baylor’s failure to comply with Title IX.”

Crawford made such claims specifically against Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Reagan Ramsower, who will leave the post next May.

Phillip has covered higher education for the Tribune-Herald since November 2015.

Recommended for you